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Shooting by pre-teen leaves Finland in shock and mourning

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-03 06:03
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Candles and flowers placed on a square in front of the Viertola School to pay tribute to victims are pictured in Vantaa, Finland, on April 2. [Photo/Agencies]

HELSINKI -- Finland is mourning after Tuesday's tragic incident, where a 12-year-old student opened fire on three classmates, resulting in two injuries and one fatality.

The shooting took place at around 9 am on Tuesday at a school in Vantaa, a city not far from the capital Helsinki.

"The shooting scene in Vantaa deeply shocks. My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of Viertola school," Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said.

The suspect fled the school building after the shooting, but was detained within an hour by police, who discovered a handgun licensed to a close relative on his person.

The two injured students are being treated at the Helsinki Children's Hospital. Police say their wounds are serious.

Finnish President Alexander Stubb also expressed his condolences following the attack. Flags will be hoisted at half-mast on Wednesday throughout the country, he said.

Police interrogated the suspect but said a 12-year-old cannot be held criminally responsible under Finnish law.

The state ombudsman for child affairs, Elina Pekkarinen, told the Finnish News Agency STT that police statistics reflect an increase of violence committed by teenagers aged under 15, targeting others in the same age group.

"But there has not been enough political will to tackle the situation," she added.

Pekkarinen said that it is unusual that a 12-year-old is suspect in such a serious act. She acknowledged the current cabinet has launched an overall reform of the child protection laws.

Finland reported five school shootings between 1989 and 2019.

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