WORLD

A 12-year-old student opens fire at a school in Finland, killing 1 and wounding 2 others

Apr 2, 2024, 12:41 AM | Updated: 5:10 am

HELSINKI (AP) — A 12-year-old student opened fire at a secondary school in southern Finland on Tuesday morning, killing one and seriously wounded two other students, police said. The suspect was later apprehended.

Heavily armed police cordoned off the Viertola school — a large educational institution including lower and upper secondary schools with a total of about 800 students — in the city of Vantaa, just outside the capital, Helsinki, after receiving a call about a shooting incident at 09:08 a.m.

Police said both the suspect and the victims were 12 years old.

One of the students had died instantly after being shot, Chief of Police Ilkka Koskimäki from the Eastern Uusimaa Police Department told a news conference. The other two were seriously wounded, he said.

The weapon used in the shooting was a registered handgun that was licensed to the suspect’s relative, Koskimäki said.

The suspect was detained in the Helsinki area later Tuesday with a handgun in his possession, police said. He admitted to the shooting in an initial police hearing but there is no immediate word of the motive, police said, adding that the case is being investigated as a murder and two attempted murders.

Finnish President Alexander Stubb and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo offered condolences to the families of the victims in postings on X with both saying they were shocked over the shooting.

“What makes it particularly shocking is the age of the victim and the suspect,” Orpo said during a news conference later Tuesday. “I can assure you that this (shooting) will be carefully reviewed and conclusions will be drawn that this will not happen again,”

The minimum age of criminal liability in Finland is 15 years, which means the suspect cannot be formally arrested. A suspect younger than 15 can only be heard by the police after which they will be handed over to Finland’s child welfare authorities.

In the past decades, Finland has witnessed two major deadly school shootings.

In November 2007, a 18-year-old student armed with a semi-automatic pistol opened fire at the premises of the Jokela high school in Tuusula, southern Finland, killing nine people. He was found dead with self-inflicted wounds.

Less than a year later, in September 2008, a 22-year-old student shot and killed 10 people with a semi-automatic pistol at a vocational college in Kauhajoki, southwestern Finland, before fatally shooting himself.

In the Nordic nation of 5.6 million, there are more than 1.5 million licensed firearms and about 430,000 license holders, according to the Finnish Interior Ministry. Hunting and gun-ownership have long traditions in the sparsely-populated northern European country.

Responsibility for granting permits for ordinary firearms rests with local police departments.

Following the school shootings in 2007 and 2008, Finland tightened its gun laws by raising the minimum age for firearms ownership and giving police greater powers to make background checks on individuals applying for a gun license.

___

Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copehagen, Denmark contributed to this report.

World

Associated Press

Armenia launches joint military drills with the US amid souring ties with old ally Russia

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenia on Monday launched joint military drills with the United States, a move that reflects its leader’s efforts to forge closer ties with the U.S. and other Western allies as the country’s relations with old ally Russia sour. The “Eagle Partner” war games are aimed at increasing interoperability of units participating […]

7 hours ago

United Nations Peacekeepers walk inside the U.N.-controlled buffer zone in the center of Cyprus' di...

Associated Press

Cocked rifles and infrared cameras along Cyprus buffer zone stoke tensions that could spread farther

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The clang of unseen assault rifles being cocked carries across the United Nations-controlled buffer zone in ethnically cleaved Cyprus, ratcheting up concerns that the embers of the island’s stagnant conflict could again be rekindled. The rifles are just the tip of a string of recent escalations by Turkish Cypriots and Greek […]

18 hours ago

Associated Press

Global leaders condemn Donald Trump’s assassination attempt

HONG KONG (AP) — Global leaders have expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former U.S. President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others, with many condemning the violence that shocked the world. Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after […]

2 days ago

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at a news conference following a me...

Associated Press

Treason and espionage cases are rising in Russia since the war in Ukraine began

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — When Maksim Kolker’s phone rang at 6 a.m., and the voice on the other end said his father had been arrested, he thought it was a scam to extort money. A day earlier, he had taken his father, prominent Russian physicist Dmitry Kolker, to the hospital in his native Novosibirsk, when […]

2 days ago

A demonstrator holds a slogan and a small Philippine flag to celebrate the 8th anniversary of an ar...

Associated Press

US renews call on China to stop aggressive actions in disputed sea, where hostilities have flared

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States on Friday renewed its call on China to stop its aggressive actions in the South China Sea, saying a broader web of security alliances has emerged to preserve the rule of law in the disputed waters. Washington’s top diplomat in Manila was joined by counterparts from key Western […]

3 days ago

Joemar Flores stands at his farm in Mindanao, Philippines, May 9, 2024. A growing type of insurance...

Associated Press

Increasingly popular ‘parametric insurance’ helps farmers and others hit hard by extreme weather

MINDANAO, Philippines (AP) — Joemar Flores, a spindly 28-year-old, gestured across his family’s farmland, nestled between a steep hill and a river, and expressed gratitude for the rice paddies in the distance. They’re still there, producing food and an income for him, thanks in part to a novel form of insurance that is increasingly being […]

3 days ago

A 12-year-old student opens fire at a school in Finland, killing 1 and wounding 2 others