Gunman Kills 9 at School in Finland, Shoots Self

Police had questioned shooter just a day before the attack at a western Finland trade school based on his violent YouTube postings. Shooting was second school massacre in Finland in the past year.

Police vehicles at a school in Kauhajoki, Finland, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008, the scene of a shooting. A gunman opened fire Tuesday on students at a vocational school for adults in western Finland and then shot himself, police said. Finnish media reported that several people were killed. The shootings began just before 11 a.m. (0800 GMT) as about 150 students went to class in Kauhajoki, 180 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of Helsinki. Witnesses said panic broke out as a hooded gunman entered the school and opened fire. (AP Photo/Jussi Mustikkamaa)

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) -- A gunman whose violent YouTube postings made police bring him in for questioning opened fire Tuesday at his trade school in western Finland, killing nine people before shooting himself, authorities said.

It was Finland's second school massacre in less than a year.

The gunman had been questioned by police just one day before the attack about YouTube postings in which he is seen firing a handgun, Interior Minister Anne Holmlund said. He was released because there was no legal grounds to hold him, she said.

Witnesses said panic broke out as the hooded gunman entered the school in Kauhajoki, 180 miles northwest of Helsinki, and began firing in a classroom where students were taking an exam. The shootings began just before 11 a.m. local time (0800GMT), as about 150 students were at Kauhajoki School of Hospitality.

"Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol," school janitor Jukka Forsberg told Finnish broadcaster YLE. "I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door."

Kauhajoki Mayor Antti Rantakokko confirmed that nine people were killed. At least one other woman had a gunshot wound to the head before the gunman shot himself in the head, authorities said.

Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported that police had identified the gunman as Matti Juhani Saari, a 22-year-old student. Authorities would only confirm that he was a student at the school, born in 1986.

The Finnish news agency STT said the school building was on fire and the gunman reportedly had explosives on him.

The gunman and the wounded woman were taken to a hospital in Tampere, two hours away, the hospital's medical director Matti Lehto told the AP.

"(He is) shot in the head so he is severely injured," Lehto said.

College rector Tapio Varmola told YLE the school had 150 students at the time and the shooting started in a classroom where 20 people were taking an exam.

Tuesday's rampage happened almost a year after another gunman killed eight people and himself at a school in southern Finland, an attack that triggered a fierce debate about gun laws in this Nordic nation with deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 29602954 - wibw.com/a?a=29602954