Police tape outside the Viertola school in Vantaa, Southern Finland, on Thursday, 4 April 2024. Police on Monday lauded the response of teachers to a shooting that left one pupil dead and two seriously injured at the school on Tuesday, 2 April. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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THE SCHOOL SHOOTING in Viertola, Vantaa, on 2 April took place in a classroom, according to Eastern Uusimaa Police Department.

Police on Monday revealed that the one teacher who was in the classroom at the time of the shooting began administering emergency first aid to the victims. A second teacher, who was alerted to the classroom, managed to talk the suspect into leaving school premises.

The response of the teachers was responsible and exemplary, police described in a press release.

“In the middle of all this chaos, right and great things were done,” Marko Särkkä, the detective chief inspector in charge of the pre-trial investigation at Eastern Uusimaa Police Department, stated to STT on Monday.

A 12-year-old boy lost his life and two 12-year-old girls sustained serious injuries in the shooting. Both of the girls remained in hospital care yesterday; one of them was still in critical condition, but police managed to interview the other over the weekend. The suspect, who is also 12 years old, is suspected of murder and two attempted murders.

Police reported earlier yesterday that the firearm used in the shooting did not belong to a family member but rather a close relative of the suspect. Särkkä on Monday told Helsingin Sanomat that the firearm had been stored appropriately and that suspect is believed to have obtained it without permission.

“The gun was kept accordingly in a locked firearm safe at the home of the relative,” he commented.

Särkkä revealed that investigators have largely determined the sequence of events and the roughly 4.5-kilometre route the suspect took from the school to his eventual site of arrest in Siltamäki, Helsinki.

“Based on current information, the route was chosen randomly. The suspect didn’t have a destination,” he said to the daily newspaper.

Police on Monday also reported that, contrary to previous police accounts that were picked up widely by media, the suspect is not believed to have threatened anyone with the firearm during his escape.

“It appears that there were no threatening situations and that no one was threatened with a gun,” Särkkä told Helsingin Sanomat.

Investigators at Eastern Uusimaa Police Department said yesterday they are continuing to look into the reasons that led to the incident, reminding yesterday that bullying is a very “subjective and personal” experience. Särkkä said to the newspaper that the investigators are currently looking to determine whether, where and what kinds of bullying has occurred.

“Bullying is a broad concept. We’ll look into what the concept holds when it comes to everyone involved in the case,” he commented. “At the moment, it looks like the bullying took place at the previous school.”

The suspect transferred to the school at the start of the year from a school in a small, unspecified locality in Uusimaa.

Eastern Uusimaa Police Department revealed last week that its investigators have produced evidence pointing to premeditation. Särkkä on Thursday said in a press release that the assumption stems from material found in devices confiscated from the suspect.

“We can’t say more about this for reasons linked to the investigation,” he added.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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