Finland shooting: Police apprehends 12-year-old for involvement in school shooting

A 12-year-old suspect has been taken into custody after three other 12-year-olds were shot and wounded at a school in Finland.

The injured were taken to hospitala police spokesperson told journalists.

The shooting took place at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of the capital, Helsinki. The school has about 800 pupils from first to ninth grade and a staff of 90 people, according to the local municipality.

“The immediate danger is over,” the school’s principal, Sari Laasila, said, declining to comment further on the incident.

The Finnish interior minister, Mari Rantanen, posted 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.”

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Police said they were made aware of the shooting shortly after 9am local time, after which they warned bystanders to stay indoors and away from the area and not to open their doors to strangers.

They arrested the suspect in Helsinki and seized a weapon just after 11.30am. Police and city officials are due to hold a press conference at 1pm.

The Finnish broadcaster Yle reported that parents at the school said the suspected shooter was a sixth-grade student there. Eastern Uusimaa police department has been contacted for comment.

Katri Kalske, a deputy city manager for education and training of the city of Vantaa, said she was deeply shocked by the incident and there had been no advance warning, telling Yle: “This came as a big surprise to everyone.”

She said she hoped the shooting would act as a wake-up call to society.

Previous school shootings in Finland have put a harsh focus on the country’s gun policy. In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed six students, a school nurse, the principal and himself using a handgun at Jokela high school near Helsinki.

In 2008, another student, Matti Saari, opened fire at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, in north-west Finland. He killed nine students and one staff member before turning the gun on himself.

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

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

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