Nov 7, 2007
HELSINKI, Finland (CNN) -- An 18-year-old authorities say shot eight people inside his high school in southern Finland, before turning the gun on himself, has died, police said.
The shooting appeared to have been planned out in graphic videos posted on Internet file-sharing site YouTube.
At a news conference this afternoon, police confirmed the dead numbered two girls, five boys and the school's headmistress at Jokela High in Tuusula, a quiet town around 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Helsinki.
Ten other people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The shooter, whom police identified as Pekka Eric Auvinen, died at Toolo Hospital, authorities said. Police said he took his own life.
It was the first school shooting in Finland since 1989, when a 14-year-old student shot and killed two others in the coastal town of Rauma, the Finnish news agency STT reported.
Police said Auvinen is from Tuusula and who acted alone. He had no previous criminal record and had never threatened anyone from the school before, they added.
Auvinen published a manifesto online demanding war on the "weak-minded masses" and pledged to die for his cause. Watch Auvinen fire weapons in video from his Web page » (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/11/07/school.shooting/index.html#cnnSTCVideo)
YouTube appeared to have removed 89 videos linked to his account, many of them featuring Nazi imagery, shortly after the incident.
Finnish media reported someone posted a message two weeks ago on the Web site, warning of a bloodbath at the school.
A video posted earlier Wednesday, by "Sturmgeist89," was titled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007." "Sturmgeist89" identified himself as Auvinen, and said he chose the name "Sturmgeist" because it means "storm spirit" in German.
The video showed a picture of the school, which then disintegrated to reveal two images of Auvinen against a red background, pointing a gun at the screen.
The clip is accompanied by the song "Stray Bullet" from rock band KMFDM. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the students behind the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, also cited that group's lyrics.
Another short video clip, called "Just Testing My Gun," showed Auvinen loading and cocking a handgun. He fired and hit several pieces of fruit in a wooded area; the camera then showed a close-up of the destroyed fruit, and then a full-screen shot of him again. He waved at the camera and then walked out of view.
The site indicated that the youth appeared to be fascinated with killing. As well as video footage of the Columbine school shootings, it also included clips of the 1993 Waco siege in the United States, the 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo, and bombs falling on Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.
Many showed victims being wheeled away or people running for their lives. Throughout all of this, the single word "DIE" constantly flashed across the screen. Other video clips included Nazi-war-criminal footage.
In the rambling text posted on the site, Auvinen said that he is "a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist.
"I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," he wrote. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."
The police said at this afternoon's press conference that they had been fired at when they arrived at the school at 11.45 p.m. local time (9.45 a.m. GMT).
They described the scene as chaotic, with some of the 460 students, ranging in age from 12 to 18, breaking windows in an attempt to escape.
When the police's special SWAT unit entered the high school they found the gunman unconscious and in critical condition in the lower lobby of the building with a gunshot wound to his head. Police assume he tried to take his own life as no officers fired at him.
Several bodies were also found in the same location, where the shooting is believed to have begun, they added.
They could not confirm comments by some students that Auvinen was firing through doors.
Police also said that the gun Auvinen used, which was fully licensed, had been purchased less than a month ago on October 19. The legal age limit to own a gun in Finland is 18, which Auvinen passed in June of this year.
He had a recommendation from a shooting club when he obtained the gun, police added, and practised sharp-shooting as a hobby at a shooting range.
Finland, which enjoys a strong tradition of hunting, has a high proportion of gun ownership, with two million firearms owned in a nation of only five million.
The Associated Press reported comments from Kim Kiuru, one of the school's teachers, on radio station YLE.
Kiuru described how the headmistress used the public address system around noon to tell pupils to stay in classrooms.
He said he locked his classroom door, then waited in the corridor for more news.
"After that I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-caliber handgun in his hand through the doors towards me, after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction, " Kiuru said.
The agency reported Kiuru as saying that he saw a woman's body as he fled the school, before telling his pupils to leave the building through the windows