12-year-old shooter arrested and child dead after Finland school shooting as police order lockdown


A 12-year-old child has died and a further two were injured in a shooting at a primary school in Finland early on Tuesday, police have said.

Authorities added that the suspect, also 12, has been apprehended as they urged people to stay indoors.

The force responded to the incident at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb of the capital Helsinki, shortly after 9am local time (7am GMT).

Police officers talk to family members of pupils at the school (Reuters)
Police officers talk to family members of pupils at the school (Reuters)

The school has around 800 students from first to ninth grade and a staff of some 90 people, according to the local municipality.

“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,” the police said in a statement.

The victims were taken to hospital where one later died.

Like most Finnish schools, students were just returning to class after the Easter break when the shooting happened.

Finnish broadcaster MTV Uutiset reported that armed police officers were spotted at the scene as concerned parents tried to get inside the school to reach their children.

Interior minister Mari Rantanen said on Twitter/X: “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.”

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 Twitter/X.

Previous school shootings in Finland have put a harsh focus on Finland’s gun policy.

In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed six students, the school nurse, the principal and himself using a handgun at Jokela High School, near Helsinki.

A year later, in 2008, Matti Saari, another student, opened fire at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, located in northwest Finland. He killed nine students and one male 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 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.