Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eleven Dead In Finnish College Shooting

Tuesday's shootings in Kauhajoki, began just before 1100 local time (0800 GMT). At least eleven people have been killed and two others wounded in a shooting spree at a college in the small town in western Finland, some 330km (205 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki.

Police said the gunman, thought to be a student in his early 20s, then shot himself. His condition is unclear. (He died later.)

The gunmen apparently posted a YouTube video of himself on the internet last week firing a gun. As a result, police interviewed him on Monday but did not revoke his licence, the interior minister said.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said this was a "tragic day" for Finland, said BBC News.

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

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.

School caretaker Jukka Forsberg told Finnish TV: "Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol. I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door."

Police ordered an evacuation and called for reinforcements as fires blazed in the building.

The gunman remained at large within the college grounds for some time.

Mr Vanhanen confirmed the gunman had shot himself but gave no details of his condition.

Media reports said the gunman was being treated for a bullet wound to the head at Tampere University Hospital.
Mr Vanhanen expressed condolences to the families of the victims and declared Wednesday a day of national mourning.
Interior Minister Anne Holmlund said police questioned the man about the YouTube video, which showed him shooting at a firing range.

"Police were aware of this and spoke to him on Monday, September 22," she said.

"However, the police officer on duty decided there was no need to terminate his gun licence."

The gunman was given a "temporary licence" for a .22-calibre firearm this year, Ms Holmlund said.

In November 2007, eight people died in another school attack in Finland.

In that incident, the gunman, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, posted a video on YouTube as a preview of his attack, pledging to "eliminate" those he saw as "unfit".

In the wake of that attack, Finland's government pledged to raise the minimum age for buying guns.

But the country has a long tradition of hunting and weapons-bearing, with about 1.6 million firearms in private hands.

1 comment:

FilmNoir23 said...

Similar traces of gothic musical tendencies of a more Germanic variety...these things always have the smell of Arayan Nation all over them...calling for a war, that type of thing.