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Deadly School Shooting in Finland: 12-Year-Old Suspect in Hands

Written by Essi Lehto Reuters, Helsinki In a shooting at a school outside of the Finnish capital on Tuesday, a child was killed and two others were critically hurt, according to police. The police had roped off a building at the school. Hundreds of meters away, at another school, parents will pick up their kids.

The arrest happened quietly, outside the school, in the suburbs of Sitamaki. The suspect and weapon, according to the police, are in custody. According to the police, there are currently no other suspects. They just stated that the victim and the suspect were both 12-year-old Finns enrolled in the same school, without going into further detail about their identities.

The suspect, who was not given the opportunity to plead guilty, admitted to the assault during a preliminary interrogation, police said. The suspect will be handed over to social services agencies and is too young to be detained by police.

Police said the motive is unclear. They said the license to use the handgun belonged to a relative of the suspect. A video circulating on social media and not yet verified by Reuters shows two police officers kneeling next to the suspected shooter lying face down on the sidewalk.

The shooting took place at Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of Helsinki, which has about 800 students from grades 1 to 9 and a staff of 90 people, according to city authorities.
Anja Hietamies, the mother of an 11-year-old student, told Reuters she received a text message from her daughter after the shooting.

Hietamies stated that her daughter was afraid and that “she said they were in a dark, locked classroom, they weren’t allowed to talk on the phone but could send text messages.” Mari Rantanen, the interior minister, stated on The accused offender has been taken into custody.” The shooting, according to Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, was extremely disturbing.He said on X, “My thoughts are with the victims’ families, the employees who were affected, and the other students and staff.

Previous school shootings in Finland have put a spotlight on Finland’s gun policy. In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot dead six students, a nurse, the principal and himself with a shotgun 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.

He killed nine students and one male staff member before turning the gun on himself. Finland strengthened its gun laws in 2010, introducing a competency test for all gun license applicants. The minimum age of applicants has also been changed from 18 to 20 years old. There are more than 1.5 million licensed guns and about 430,000 license holders in this country of 5.6 million people, where hunting and target shooting are popular.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Essi Lehto in Helsinki and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen Writing by Nick Macfie Editing by Terje Solsvik, Gwladys Fouche, Peter Graff)

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