April 14, 2024

Three children were wounded after another minor opened fire at a primary school near Finland’s capital Helsinki.

A child has been killed and another two wounded after another minor opened fire at a primary school in Finland, according to authorities.

Finnish police said the 12-year-old shooter was arrested early on Tuesday, shortly after the incident at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of Helsinki. Like the United States, Finland has high rates of gun ownership, but incidents of gun violence and school shootings in the country are rare.

“The immediate danger is over,” the school principal Sari Laasila told Reuters, declining to comment further.

The two injured victims, who are the same age as the attacker, were taken to a hospital, according to police. Their identity and condition were not immediately clear.

Parents were later seen picking up their children from another school building hundreds of metres away, as police sealed off another building.

The school in Vantaa has about 800 students from first to ninth grade and a staff of 90, according to the municipal government.

Police told reporters that all of those involved in the incident were Finnish. A motive was not yet clear, they added.

“The day started in a horrifying way … I can only imagine the pain and worry that many families are experiencing at the moment. The suspected perpetrator has been caught,” Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen wrote in a statement posted on X,

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the shooting was deeply shocking.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff,” he said on X. “We are following the situation closely and are waiting for updated information from the authorities.”

Police said that the suspect had used a handgun for which the permit belonged to a close relative.

While incidents of gun violence in Finland are relatively rare, previous school shootings have put a focus on the country’s gun policy.

In 2007, eight people, including six students, were shot dead at a high school near Helsinki, before the pupil perpetrator killed himself.

The next year, nine students and a school staff member were shot by a pupil before he turned the gun on himself.

Gun legislation was tightened in 2010, introducing an aptitude test for all firearms licence applicants. The age limit for applicants was also changed to 20 from 18.

There are more than 1.5 million licensed firearms and about 430,000 licence holders in the nation of 5.6 million people, where hunting and target shooting are popular.

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