A 12-year-old minor shoots a child to death and wounds two at a school in Helsinki

A 12-year-old boy has been killed and two of the same age have been seriously injured during a shooting at a Finnish primary school early Tuesday.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 16:22
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A 12-year-old minor shoots a child to death and wounds two at a school in Helsinki

A 12-year-old boy has been killed and two of the same age have been seriously injured during a shooting at a Finnish primary school early Tuesday. The police claim to have arrested a 12-year-old schoolboy, who has admitted responsibility for the attack after handing over the weapon peacefully, in the Siltamaki neighborhood, far from the school. The same sources indicated that the minor had a gun whose weapons permit still belongs to the family.

An image taken from a video circulating on social networks shows two agents kneeling on what appears to be the alleged perpetrator of the attacks, although it has not been possible to verify its veracity.

The shooting took place at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a neighborhood in northern Helsinki, which has about 800 students from first to ninth grade and a staff of 90, according to the local city hall. The school's principal, Sari Laasila, told Reuters that "the immediate danger has passed," although she declined to comment further.

"The day started in a horrible way. There was a shooting at the Viertola school in Vantaa. I can only imagine the pain and worry that many families are experiencing right now. The alleged perpetrator has been captured," said the Minister of Finnish Interior, Mari Rantenen, in X (formerly Twitter).

Previous school shootings in Finland have put Finnish gun policy in the spotlight. In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed six students, the school nurse, the director and himself using a pistol at Jokela High School, near Helsinki. A year later, in 2008, Matti Saari, another student, opened fire at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, located in northwestern Finland, killing nine students and one staff member before turning the gun on himself.

Finland tightened its gun legislation in 2010, introducing a proficiency test for all firearms license applicants. The age limit of applicants was also modified, from 18 to 20 years; although the country, of 5.6 million inhabitants, has 1.5 million firearms and some 430,000 license holders, where hunting and target shooting are popular activities.