Child gunman, 12, kills one classmate and wounds two others in rampage at Finnish school before being held by police

2 April 2024, 08:33 | Updated: 2 April 2024, 12:05

Three children were injured in the attack.
Three children were injured in the attack. Picture: Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

One child has died and two others have been wounded after a school shooting in Finland, police have said.

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Police were called to reports of the incident at Viertola school in Vantaa shortly after 9am local time on Tuesday.

One child, aged 12, was killed and two others of the same age were taken to hospital seriously injured. A suspect of the same age was detained by police.

They have now opened an investigation into murder and attempted murder.

The suspect ran off after the incident and was arrested "in a calm manner" around 10am in an area called Siltakylantie.

Police said the suspect had been holding a firearm, which they took from him, and that he admitted to carrying out the shooting in an initial interview.

The suspect, who is also child, was detained by officers.
The suspect, who is also child, was detained by officers. Picture: Getty

Viertola school has students aged seven to 15 of both primary and middle-school age, it has 800 students and 90 members of staff.

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The school has two sites, Liljatie and Jokiranta. The shooting reportedly took place at the Jokiranta campus.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said following the incident: “My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff."

Interior minister Mari Rantanen wrote on X: "The day started in a horrifying way. There has been a shooting incident at the Viertola school in Vantaa. I can only imagine the pain and worry that many families are experiencing at the moment. The suspected perpetrator has been caught.”

Police arrested a suspect aged 12.
Police arrested a suspect aged 12. Picture: Getty
There was a heavy police presence on Tuesday morning.
There was a heavy police presence on Tuesday morning. Picture: Getty

"The immediate danger is over," the school's principal Sari Laasila said.

Parents gathered at the school on Tuesday morning where their children had returned after a long weekend Easter weekend.

Officers said in an earlier statement: “Police are at the scene investigating the incident. Bystanders are asked to stay away from the area and indoors. The door should not be opened to strangers.”

It was initially believed three minors had been injured but officers later confirmed one child had died and two were in serious conditions.

Finland saw two deadly school shootings in 2007 and 2008, which prompted the country to tighten its gun laws.

However, the country still reportedly has 430,000 licensed gun owners in its population of 5.5 million, according to government statistics.

Vantaa is part of the Helsinki metropolitan area and is home to around 250,000 people.