News & Current Affairs

September 23, 2008

Finland school gunman kills nine

Filed under: Latest, Politics News — Tags: , , , , , , , — expressyoureself @ 12:29 pm

Finland school gunman kills nine

Finnish police outside the scene of the attack

Heavily-armed police rushed to the scene of the attack

At least nine people have been killed and two others seriously wounded in a shooting spree at a vocational college in Finland, police and officials say.

Police said the gunman, thought to be a 20-year-old student, then shot himself, although his condition is now unclear.

He was carrying an automatic weapon and wearing a ski mask when he entered the college in Kauhajoki, reports said.

In 2007 eight people died in another school attack. Finland has one of the world’s highest gun ownership rates.

In last year’s incident, the gunman, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, posted a video on YouTube as a macabre preview of his attack, pledging to “eliminate” those he saw as “unfit”.

Ski mask

Tuesday’s shootings in Kauhajoki, some 330km (205 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki, began just before 1100 local time (0800 GMT).

An estimated 200 students were thought to be in the college buildings at the time.

Map showing school location

A BBC correspondent in Finland said a gunman dressed in black was seen at the school, apparently carrying an automatic weapon.

A man with a ski mask was seen entering the building with a large bag, national broadcaster YLE reported. Shots were fired soon afterwards, and reports emerged that several people were seriously wounded.

At least one injured girl was seen leaving the school covered in blood, our correspondent says, while police said some of the injured were taken away from the scene and treated nearby.

Police ordered an evacuation and called for reinforcements as fires blazed in the building and local reports said Finland’s heavy weapons squad was heading to Kauhajoki.

The gunman remained at large within the college grounds for some time before police apparently restrained and disarmed him.

“I just heard from the police radio that the shooter has been caught. He no longer has a gun,” a police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

But hospital sources and the mayor of the town were later quoted as saying the attacker had turned his gun on himself. There was no confirmation of his condition.

In the wake of the 2007 attack, Finland’s government pledged to raise the minimum age for buying guns after Auvinen’s attack. But the country has a long tradition of hunting and weapons-bearing, with about 1.6 million firearms in private hands, the Associated Press reports.



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