Police officers are seen at the Viertola comprehensive school in Vantaa, Finland, on April 2, 2024. Three minors were injured in a shooting at the school on Tuesday morning. A suspect, also a minor, has been apprehended. LEHTIKUVA

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One 12-year-old pupil died and two other pupils are hospitalized with serious injuries, in the tragic shooting incident that unfolded at Viertola school in Vantaa city, part of Helsinki Metropolitan Area on Tuesday morning, sending shockwaves through the community. According to Eastern Uusimaa police, the suspect, also a 12-year-old student in the school has been apprehended. 

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, with authorities confirming that all individuals involved in the shooting were minors.

The incident occurred specifically at Jokiranta school, which is a part of Viertola school. The police were swiftly called to the scene at approximately 9:08 am, responding to reports of gunfire within the school premises. As the situation unfolded, authorities urged bystanders to stay away from the area and take shelter indoors.

When the police arrived at the school, the suspect had already left the school grounds. However, the suspect, also a student at Viertola school, was apprehended at 10 o’clock in Helsinki’s Siltamäki, away from the school. “The arrest went peacefully. The suspect was in possession of a firearm. The suspect has admitted the act in the preliminary interview,” statement from the police said.

Yle reported that the firearm used in the incident was licensed to a close relative of the suspect, and the incident is being investigated as murder and attempted murder. Despite the gravity of the situation, Finnish law dictates that children under the age of 15 cannot be remanded into custody, rendering the suspect not criminally liable under the law and they are put in the care of social services.

The police did not reveal the identities of the victims and the suspect yet but confirmed that all individuals involved in the Viertola school shooting are Finnish, and thus far, investigations have yielded no discernible motives for the act from their backgrounds. Furthermore, there are no indications of any connections to gang violence at this stage of the inquiry, an HS report said.

The victims' families have been notified, as law enforcement continues to piece together the events leading up to the shooting.

Finnish politicians have also raised concerns over the shooting with Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, both expressing shock and sorrow over the incident, highlighting the need for swift action and support for the affected families.

“The shooting scene in Vantaa is deeply shocking. My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of Viertola school. We are following the situation closely and are waiting for updated information from the authorities.” Prime Minister Orpo said in a post on X.

Interior Minister Mari Rantanen posted on X, “The day started in a shocking way. There was a school shooting incident at the Viertola school in Vantaa. I can only imagine the pain and worry many families are experiencing right now.”

“Shocking news from Vantaa. We are following the situation closely,” Education Minister, Anna-Maja Henriksson posted in X.

Finland, with an estimated 1.5 million licensed firearms in a population of 5.6 million, has a significant rate of gun ownership.  Before this, three notable school shootings have occurred in Finland. These include the Raumanmeri shooting of 1989, the Jokela school shooting in 2007, and the Kauhajoki school shooting in 2008.

Following the Jokela school shooting, Finland introduced measures such as raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 18 and implementing detailed application processes for handling licenses. Additionally, legislation mandates secure storage of firearms and ammunition to prevent misuse.

This article is updated as the investigation progresses.

HT

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