Finland school shooting: Three children injured as 12-year-old suspect arrested

Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/Reuters

Police arrive after a shooting at Viertola school in Vantaa, Finland, April 2, 2024.


Three 12-year-old children have been wounded in a school shooting near Finland’s capital Helsinki, Finnish police reported Tuesday.

A suspect in the incident, also aged 12 and a student at the same school, fled on foot but was later caught by police in a northern Helsinki suburb, according the country’s public broadcaster, YLE.

Officers were called to Viertola school in the city of Vantaa at around 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), YLE said.

Police have not yet “provided details about the nature or severity of the injuries,” nor what type of firearm was used, the broadcaster reported.

Pupils were kept inside their classrooms after the shooting and authorities urged people to avoid the school and remain indoors.

Viertola primary school lies about 18 kilometers (11 miles) north of Helsinki. It has around 800 students between 1st and 9th grade and around 90 staff members.

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the shooting was “deeply shocking.”

“My thoughts are with the victims, their families and the other students and staff of the Viertola school,” Orpo wrote on X.

Finland enjoys a strong tradition of hunting and its gun ownership rates are among the highest in the world, but school shootings are extremely rare.

In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year-old schoolboy, opened fire at his high school in the southern Finnish town of Tuusula, killing eight people and wounding 10 others before turning the gun on himself. He had left a suicide note saying goodbye to his family.

In 2008, just months after the Tuusula shooting, Matti Juhani Saari, 22, opened fire at another school in the country, killing 10 before also shooting himself.

After the shootings, the Finnish government issued new guidelines on the use of firearms, particularly handguns and revolvers.

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