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News > Finland

Pre-Teen Boy Shoots Classmates in Finnish School

  • Finnish police outside the Viertola School, April 2, 2024.

    Finnish police outside the Viertola School, April 2, 2024. | Photo: X/ @teleSURtv

Published 2 April 2024

This tragedy reignited the debate about bullying in the supposedly happiest country in the world.

On Tuesday, a twelve-year-old boy shot and killed a classmate and wounded two others in Viertola, a school with around 800 students and 90 staff members in Vantaa city.


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Using a gun belonging to a close relative, he fired at his three classmates before being apprehended by the police without resistance nearly three kilometers from the crime scene.

"“This incident is deeply upsetting. On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government, I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of the deceased child. In addition, two children were seriously injured. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and the pupils and staff of Viertola school," Finnish President Alexander Stubb said.

Although the motives are still unknown, this tragedy has reignited the debate on bullying and the mental health of young people in a country that is supposedly the happiest in the world and has an exemplary school system.

"We collectively thought that as a society, we had learned from previous school shootings, but a day like this should never have happened," Finnish Police Chief Seppo Kolehmainen stated.

With 5.6 million inhabitants and 1.5 million registered firearms, Finland ranks among the countries with the highest number of guns per capita due to its population's enthusiasm for hunting and sports shooting.

The first school shooting in Finland occurred in Tuusula in November 2007, when an 18-year-old student killed eight people with a pistol before committing suicide with a shot to the head.

One year later, another 22-year-old student shot and killed nine classmates and a teacher at a vocational school in Kauhajoki before also committing suicide. In 2012, a 23-year-old man carried out another shooting at a high school in Orivesi, though without any fatalities.

Additionally, there have been other attacks in educational institutions involving edged weapons in 2012 and 2013, resulting in one student's death and injuries to four others.

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