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Finnish 12-year-old shoots classmate dead, wounds two others

Finnish police detained a 12-year-old student Tuesday on suspicion of shooting dead a classmate and severely wounding two others, all also 12 years old, at a school in Vantaa, northeast of the capital Helsinki, police said in a news conference.

Police were alerted to the incident shortly after 9 a.m. local time and images from the scene showed a large police presence at the school, which has around 800 pupils and 90 staff and is attended by children aged 7 to 15. According to police, the suspect was in custody by 10 a.m. Authorities confirmed the crimes are murder and attempted murder, but since the suspect is 12 years old, he is not criminally responsible.

Police did not comment on what kind of weapon was used in the incident, besides the fact that it was a firearm.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of Viertola school,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on X. “We are following the situation closely and are waiting for updated information from the authorities.”

While school shootings are unusual in Finland they are not unheard of, with four such incidents in the last 35 years. In 1989, two 14-year-olds were killed by a fellow student in Rauma, southwest Finland. The deadliest school shooting occurred in 2008, when a 22-year-old shot and killed 10 people before turning the gun on himself.

The 2008 incident prompted a tightening of gun laws. There are 430,000 licensed gun owners in a population of 5.5 million, in a country where hunting is popular.

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