12-year-old suspected of Finland school shooting

A tragedy unfolded on Tuesday at a school outside the Finnish capital when a shooting left one child dead and two others seriously wounded. Police apprehended a 12-year-old fellow student suspected of the attack.

Police outside the school.

Police outside the school.

Foto: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/TT

Finland2024-04-02 13:28

Officers cordoned off a building at the school, while parents anxiously collected their children from another building hundreds of meters away. Authorities confirmed the arrest occurred peacefully in the suburb of Siltamaki, separate from the school grounds. Both the suspect and the weapon are now in police custody.

Bäckby in Vantaa, outside Helsinki.

No additional suspects are being investigated at this time. Police withheld details about the identities of the victims and suspect, only confirming they are all 12-year-old Finnish students from the school.

In a preliminary interview, the suspect reportedly admitted to the attack. However, due to the suspect's age, they cannot be remanded into custody and will be placed under the care of social services. The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Police confirmed the handgun used was registered to a relative of the suspect.

Police officers and police cars in front of the school in Vantaa.

Unverified video circulating on social media shows two police officers kneeling beside the suspected shooter, who is lying face down on the sidewalk.

The shooting occurred at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of Helsinki. The school serves approximately 800 students from first to ninth grade and employs a staff of 90, according to municipal records.

Finland's gun culture

Finland, with a population of 5.5 million, has more than 1.5 million licensed firearms and approximately 430,000 permit holders, according to the Finnish Ministry of the Interior. There is a long tradition of both hunting and gun ownership in the country.

The local police are responsible for issuing permits.

After the school shootings in Finland in 2007 and 2008, the country tightened its gun laws by raising the minimum age for ownership and by giving the police greater powers to check on individuals applying for permits.

Source: AP, Finnish Ministry of the Interior