November 8, 2007 in Nation/World

Gunman kills 8 at Finnish school

Marius Turula Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A screenshot from the Web site YouTube shows a teenage gunman in a video posted by a man who is believed to be responsible for killing at least seven people at a Finnish high school Wednesday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

TUUSULA, Finland – An 18-year-old gunman killed seven students and the principal during a rampage through his high school in this quiet Finnish town – and investigators suspect he revealed plans for the carnage in video Internet postings.

Investigators said the gunman, who was not identified, shot himself in the head after the shooting spree at Jokela High School in Tuusula, some 30 miles north of the capital, Helsinki. He died later at a hospital.

The teen killed five boys, two girls and the female principal with a .22-caliber pistol, police said. Authorities said one person was wounded by a bullet and about a dozen others suffered cuts and other injuries while fleeing the school. Officials said more than 400 students ages 12 through 18 were enrolled.

Witnesses described a scene of mayhem at the school in this leafy lakeside community, saying the shooter prowled the building looking for victims while shouting slogans for “revolution.”

Police Chief Matti Tohkanen said the gunman didn’t have a previous criminal record. “He was from an ordinary family,” Tohkanen said. He said the teen belonged to a gun club and had gotten a license for the pistol Oct. 19.

Gun ownership is fairly common in Finland by European standards, but deadly shootings are rare. Finnish media reported that a school shooting in 1989 involved a 14-year-old boy who killed two other students apparently for teasing him.

Investigators were searching for connections to the shooter and a possible motive in YouTube postings that appeared to reveal plans for Wednesday’s deadly attack.

One video, titled “Jokela High School Massacre,” showed a picture of what appeared to be the Jokela school and two photos of a young man holding a handgun.

The person who posted the video was identified in the user profile as an 18-year-old man from Finland. The posting was later removed.

Terhi Vayrynen, a 17-year-old student, said her brother Henri, 13, and his classmates watched through their classroom windows as the assailant shot the school’s principal outside the school.

She said the gunman then entered her brother’s classroom shouting: “Revolution! Smash everything!”

When no one did anything, the attacker shot the television set and windows but did not fire at the youngsters, she said. Then he ran out.

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