3 12-year-olds wounded in Finland school shooting, child suspect held


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3 12-year-olds wounded in Finland school shooting, child suspect held

FINLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING. Police officers and police vehicles operate at the Viertola comprehensive school in Vantaa, Finland, on April 2, 2024.

Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/via Reuters

(1st UPDATE) The arrest happens peacefully and both the suspect and the weapon are now in police custody, police say

HELSINKI, Finland – Three 12-year-old children were shot and wounded at a school in Finland on Tuesday, April 2, and the suspect, also 12, was taken into custody, police said.

The victims were taken to hospital, a police spokesperson told Reuters. At the school, a building had been cordoned off by police. Parents were picking up their children from another school building hundreds of meters (yards) away.

The arrest had happened peacefully and both the suspect and the weapon were now in police custody, police said. No further details were immediately available.

The shooting took place at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of the capital Helsinki, which has around 800 pupils from first to ninth grade and a staff of 90, according to the local municipality.

“The immediate danger is over,” the Viertola school’s principal Sari Laasila told Reuters, declining to comment further.

Interior Minister Mari Rantanen said on X: “The day started in a horrifying way… I can only imagine the pain and worry that many families are experiencing at the moment. The suspected perpetrator has been caught.”

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the shooting was deeply shocking.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff,” he said on X.

Previous school shootings in Finland have put a harsh focus on Finland’s gun policy.

In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed six students, the school nurse, the principal, and himself using a handgun 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 northwest Finland. He killed nine students and one male staff member before turning the gun on himself.

Finland tightened its gun legislation in 2010, introducing an aptitude test for all firearms license applicants. The age limit for applicants was also changed to 20 from 18.

There are more than 1.5 million licensed firearms and about 430,000 license holders in the nation of 5.6 million people, where hunting and target shooting are popular. – Rappler.com

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