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

By Essi Lehto

HELSINKI (Reuters) – A 12-year-old child shot and wounded three other 12-year-olds at a school in Finland on Tuesday and the suspect was taken peacefully 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 metres (yards) away.

The arrest had happened peacefully and both the suspect and the weapon were now in police custody, police said. No details about the identities of the children or the condition of the victims were immediately released.

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

“The immediate danger is over,” the Viertola school’sprincipal Sari Laasila told Reuters, declining to commentfurther.

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 licence 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 licence holders in the nation of 5.6 million people, where hunting and target shooting are popular.

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






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