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12-year-old student killed, two injured in Finland school shooting

Police secure the scene of a school shooting in Vantaa, Finland, on Tuesday in which a sixth grader was killed and two classmates were injured after another 12-year-old opened fire with a handgun. Photo by Kimmo Brandt/EPA-EFE
Police secure the scene of a school shooting in Vantaa, Finland, on Tuesday in which a sixth grader was killed and two classmates were injured after another 12-year-old opened fire with a handgun. Photo by Kimmo Brandt/EPA-EFE

April 2 (UPI) -- A student was killed and two others were injured Tuesday in a primary school shooting in Finland.

The three students, all aged 12, were shot when one of their classmates opened fire with a handgun just after the start of class at the Viertola School in Vantaa, about 11 miles northeast of downtown Helsinki, Finland Police said in a news bulletin.

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"One shooting victim died at the scene. Two people were seriously injured in the shooting and are in the hospital. The victims are 12-year-old school students," police said.

The suspect had fled when police arrived at the Jokiranta campus just after 9 a.m. local time and locked down the school but was arrested without a struggle an hour later in a nearby suburb.

Police said the suspect, another 12-year-old student at the school, was in possession of a firearm when he was detained.

"The boy admitted the act in the preliminary police interview," said police.

Prime Minister Peterri Orpo expressed "deep shock" at the shooting.

"My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of Viertola school," he wrote in a post on X.

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National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen said it showed Finland had failed to learn from the past.

"Together, we thought that as a society we would have learned from previous school shootings. Such a day should not have happened," he told a news conference.

The suspect has been charged with murder and attempted murder, CNN said, citing national radio, and that the handgun was licensed to a close relative of the boy but police had yet to establish a motive.

Viertola Primary School is attended by around 800 students, grades 1 through 9, with 90 members of staff.

Finland's gun laws came under harsh scrutiny following school shootings in 2007 and 2008 in which 16 people were killed, leading to the minimum age for a gun license being raised in 2010 to 20, from 18, and a new aptitude test.

About 430,000 people are licensed to own a weapon in Finland with 1.5 million licensed firearms in the nation of 5.6 million people.

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