Get 40% Off
🚀 Our AI Picked 6 Stocks that Jumped +25% in Q1. Which Picks Will Soar in Q2?Unlock full list

Finnish police say bullying was motive for school shooting

Published 04/03/2024, 03:34 AM
Updated 04/03/2024, 01:10 PM
© Reuters. A view of candles, flowers and other memorabilia at the Viertola school, following a shooting incident at the school, in Vantaa, Finland, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.   Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari via REUTERS

By Essi Lehto and Sergejs Mikusa

HELSINKI (Reuters) -A 12-year-old boy who shot and killed a fellow sixth-grader and severely injured two others at a school in Finland has said he was a target of bullying and that this was the motive for his attack, police said on Wednesday.

The boy on Tuesday brought a relative's revolver to Viertola school near Helsinki and shot the three 12-year-olds and threatened several others. He had transferred to the school at the start of 2024, investigators said.

Finland held a national day of mourning on Wednesday, with flags on public buildings flown at half-mast in a sign of respect for the dead child. The two other pupils remained in hospital, with what police said were life-threatening injuries.

"We just found out today that there was this bullying behind the tragedy," lead investigator Detective Chief Inspector Marko Sarkka told Reuters. He declined to elaborate.

Police have not said whether the attacker sought to target any specific individuals.

Finland has seen a rising level of bullying in schools, with 8.6% of pupils who are now around 12 years old saying they had been targeted at least once a week, up from 7.2% in 2019, according to a 2023 study by public health institute THL.

The permit for the revolver used in Tuesday's attack belonged to a relative of the suspect, police said. It was not immediately clear how the shooter had obtained the weapon.

"This matter is being investigated by the police as a separate firearms offence," investigators said in a statement.

CANDLES AND FLOWERS

Mourners lit hundreds of candles and laid flowers outside the school in the town of Vantaa on Wednesday.

The mother of one fifth-grader at the school said parents and teachers should talk more with the children to help identify as early as possible any cases of bullying.

"I want more resources to deal with these incidents," the mother, Valentina Goncharenko, told Reuters.

Following deadly school shootings in 2007 and 2008, Finland tightened its gun legislation in 2010 and introduced an aptitude test for all firearms licence applicants. The minimum age for applicants was also raised to 20 from 18.

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

There were no immediate calls in Finland following Tuesday's incident for a change in the gun laws.

© Reuters. Members of the Finnish parliament pay their respect to the victims of the school shooting that happened at Viertola school in Vantaa, ahead of the parliament session, in Helsinki, Finland April 3, 2024. Lehtikuva/Antti Aimo-Koivisto via REUTERS

"As far as I understand, you don't easily get a permit for this kind of hand gun and they should be locked away," said Tuomo Matero, a musician out for a stroll in central Helsinki.

"No 12-year-old should have access. If the legislation is followed properly... this kind of thing shouldn't happen. We should make sure there are enough teachers in schools and kids feel safe and that there is no bullying in schools," he added.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.