Shooting in Finnish mall leaves four dead

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Interior of the Sello shopping centre

A lone gunman dressed in black opened fire in a Finnish shopping mall in the city of Espoo, near the capital Helsinki. Four people have been confirmed dead following the incident, and others have been injured. Police have now stated that the gunman and his girlfriend have also been found dead; it is believed he committed suicide.

According to the state broadcaster, YLE, three women and one man were among the dead. Several ambulances and police officers arrived at the mall.

Kari Harjula, an eyewitness, told YLE, "I started to hear a lot of shouting from the outer doors of Citymarket and Sello, telling everybody to get out. The customers and employees were wondering what was going on. Soon some police ran in with riot shields and serious expressions on their faces. They yelled at everybody to get out; that the shopping centre was being evacuated. The situation was chaotic; there were a lot of police inside and outside. From a layman's point of view, it looked like a massive operation."

Finland has one of the largest private firearms ownership and has seen several attacks in the recent past. In September 2008, a gunman killed nine students as well as a teacher before committing suicide, while in November 2007, another student killed eight, and ultimately shot himself dead.