Tuesday, September 23, 2008
At least eleven people have been killed this morning after a gunman opened fire at a school in Finland.
The student, wearing a black hood and armed with an automatic weapon, is said to have started shooting at a college for adults in the town of Kauhajoki just before 11am (8am GMT) today.
In a horrifying twist, he is said to have been held and questioned by police on Monday before being set free to go on his rampage.
It is believed he became a person of interest to police after posting video footage of himself on YouTube foreshadowing the shooting spree.
He was released because there were no legal grounds to hold him, Finland’s Interior Minister Anne Holmlund said.
Named locally as 22-year-old Maati Saari, he was rushed to the hospital alive after trying to shoot himself in the head, but died in hospital.
It is unclear whether the death toll of eleven people included the gunman.
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A fire had broken out at the school but has now been extinguished. Finnish news agency STT said that Saari possibly had explosives on him.
In a chilling echo of last year’s Jokela high school massacre that shocked Finland, the gunman is said to have posted video of himself firing a handgun on YouTube.
Video footage of a man who posted under the name Wumpscut86 and who last visited the YouTube site an hour before the shooting has now been removed.
The YouTube clips show a young man wearing a leather jacket firing several shots in rapid succession with a Walther P22 handgun at what appears to be a shooting range.
There were four of the clips, all running for about thirty seconds, posted between three weeks and five days before the shooting.
The user’s profile included the words: “And suddenly there was war and the mothers they screamed. For revenge and reprisals for another war.”
Another quote read: “Whole life is war and whole life is pain. And you will fight alone in your personal war.”
Clips from the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado were listed among the poster’s favorite videos.
The Finnish government has confirmed the shooter posted on YouTube. The clips have since been removed.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 9:33 am