Public disclosure made of final report on deaths of nine in Finnish school shooting

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Jokela School, the scene of the shooting

The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation yesterday released 600 pages of the 2,000 page final report into the Jokela school shooting. 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen opened fire at Jokela High School, killing eight before turning his gun on himself, receiving fatal wounds.

The remaining 1,400 pages of the report are to remain confidential. The public section reveals a number of problems that may have impacted on Auvinen's decision to conduct the attack, but says that police failed to find any conclusive motive. Also released was an animation depicting events at the school.

The report says Auvinen had been bullied since the age of ten and concludes the extent of this problem was greater than previously thought. Auvinen suffered from anxiety and blushing, especially in lessons, and had been diagnosed with a panic disorder, for which he had been prescribed medication. Auvinen also suffered from sleep disorders and loneliness, and had few friends, although one former bully did go on to become a good friend of Auvinen's. His mother said inability to settle on a suitable ideology contributed to Auvinen's depression.

His parents had noticed and reacted to the bullying problem, but their intervention only served to worsen the situation. According to entries in Auvinen's diary, he first began planning the shooting - which he gave the English name "Operation Main Strike" - about eight months prior to actually conducting the shooting.

Auvinen had told his mother that under certain circumstances he could approve of violence. He had often viewed web sites promoting violence and had a number of online contacts whom he discussed his ideas with. One of these was a United States teen arrested for planning a similar attack, and two others discussed the Columbine High School Massacre with him and traded videos they found online. However, there is no evidence he informed anyone of his plans until immediately prior to the attack.

An interior window shot through by the killer

The report called Auvinen a moderately good student, but noted his mental problems had impacted his performance at school. He had been interested in politics from an early age, being involved with the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance, and the Finnish Communist Party.

"In the best case, this (attack) would create massive destruction and chaos, or even a revolution," read one diary entry. "In any case, I want this to be remembered forever. Maybe I'll even have a follower; after all, I am a super-person, almost God." Another revealed he intended to "kill as many of you bastards as possible". His diary also reveals he was aware he would be dead by the end of the attack.

He obtained a .22 calliber handgun which he named Catherine, having been denied a license for a 9mm gun, and submitted his plans online - including to YouTube - just 14 minutes prior to firing his first shots, having cycled to school. It was determined that, given the time-frame, there was little that could have been done by anyone who saw the material to prevent the attack. He fired 75 shots, 50 of which struck his eight fatally wounded victims, who were apparently chosen at random. Thirteen others were injured in the event.

The deceased were six students, the school headmistress and the school nurse. Auvinen shot at each several times in the region of the head and upper torso. He ultimately shot himself in the school toilet, and died in hospital from head wounds ten hours later, having never regained consciousness.

Police could not determine why he chose the date he did, although it was noted his online relationship with a foreign girl had ended just days before. It was also determined little could be done to predict and prevent future incidents, although one measure being sought is to require medical checks for gun licences and parental consent for prospective owners under 18.

The confidential section of the report discusses causes of death and police operations.


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