Candles and flowers in snow outside the Viertola school in Vantaa on Wednesday, 3 April 2024. A 12-year-old boy has confessed to shooting three of his classmates in the comprehensive school, killing one and inflicting serious injuries on the other two. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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BULLYING has been identified as the motive of the shooting that occurred at the Viertola school in Vantaa, Southern Finland, on Tuesday.

“Bullying has been determined as the motive of the act. The suspect has stated in interrogations that he had been subjected to bullying, and this detail has been corroborated in the pre-trial investigation,” reads a press release issued by Eastern Uusimaa Police Department on Wednesday.

YLE had named bullying as the motive earlier yesterday, based on its reporting.

The suspect, a 12-year-old boy, shot three of his classmates at the school, killing a 12-year-old boy and inflicting life-threatening injuries to two 12-year-old girls at the start of the second class of the schoolday on Tuesday, according to Helsingin Sanomat. One of the girls is a dual Finnish-Kosovan national, while the suspect and the other two victims are Finnish nationals.

The suspect had transferred to the comprehensive school at the beginning of the year.

Officers at Eastern Uusimaa Police Department have also determined that, after the shooting, the suspect used his firearm to threaten pupils who were on their way to school in Siltamäki, Helsinki. The neighbourhood is where he was ultimately apprehended by police, some four kilometres south-west from the scene of the shooting.

He is therefore suspected not only of murder and two attempted murders, but also of illegal threat. He admitted to carrying out the act on Tuesday.

Kimmo Hyvärinen, a detective chief inspector at Eastern Uusimaa Police Department, said yesterday that police have developed a provisional understanding of how the suspect gained access to the firearm used in the shooting, a 22-calibre revolver. The revolver was licensed to a family member of the suspect.

“We now suspect that a crime has taken place where the gun ended up in the possession of someone who isn’t licensed to have one,” he was quoted saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

Matti Tolvanen, a professor of criminal law at the University of Eastern Finland, told MTV on Tuesday that although under 15-year-olds cannot be found guilty of an offence under the criminal code, they can be found guilty of a criminal act.

“That means that the pre-trial investigation can be carried out in accordance with the pre-trial investigation act. The justification presented in the act is that an investigation is necessary to determine the right to compensation or the need for child welfare services,” he said to the news outlet. “It’s worth stressing that under 15-year-olds can of course also be liable for compensation.

Police are continuing their forensic investigation and interviews of people with knowledge of the matter.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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