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At least eleven dead in Finland school shooting


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At least eleven dead after 'YouTube' gunman is set free by police to go on school rampage


By Mail Foreign Service and Julie Moult

Last updated at 6:06 PM on 23rd September 2008



  • Shooter was questioned by police on Monday, but released
  • School was on fire and gunman may have had explosives
  • Gunman dies in hospital

A deranged gunman who posted a video of his murderous intentions on YouTube has gone on the rampage, slaughtering ten young college students in Finland.

In a tragic twist, twenty-two-year-old Matti Saari was questioned by concerned police just 24 hours before he opened fire on students at his school.

Saari uploaded disturbing footage onto YouTube of himself practising at a firing range and turning to the camera to proclaim: ‘You will die next.’







Is this the shooter? The Finnish government has confirmed the gunman posted videos on YouTube, but his identity has yet to be confirmed



Armed police vehicles line up outside the school as police battled to bring the gunman down this morning



Worried police interviewed the second-year domestic science student about the clips - but, because he had an appropriate gun license, did not take him into custody.

Just one day later he stormed into an exam hall and opened fire with an automatic weapon before killing himself.

Today those same detectives in the small town of Kauhajoki, approximately 200 miles to the north west of Helsinki, were left to deal with the devastation he caused.




The tragedy comes less than a year after Finland was rocked by a similar shooting when Jokela high school student Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed six fellow students, the school nurse and the principal after broadcasting his intent with a video on YouTube.

See the gunman's YouTube video here


The two attacks had eerie similarities. Both gunman posted violent clips on YouTube prior to the massacres, both were fascinated by the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado, both attacked their own school and both died after shooting themselves in the head.

The Scandanavian country has one of the highest ownerships of guns in the world as well as having one of the highest suicide rates.

Last year’s shooting prompted the government to review laws which allow 15 year-olds to own guns without permission from their parents.

According to witnesses, today’s incident began around 11am when Saari was seen entering the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality where 150 youngsters, mainly between the ages of 16 and 20, studied vocational courses in subjects including catering, tourism and social work.

Dressed head to toe in black and wearing a ski mask and carrying a large black bag, he entered a hall where domestic science students had just sat down to complete an exam.


The videos show the same man practising at the range over several different days. They have since been removed from YouTube amid speculation he may be the shooter

Using an .22 automatic weapon, he sprayed the room with bullets leaving 10 dead and several injured.

Many of the students and teachers were able to flee to safety - some covered in blood - as the shooter turned the gun on himself.

He died several hours later in hospital.


A fire had broken out at the school during the shooting but was extinguished, and initial reports that Saari was carrying explosives have not been confirmed.

School caretaker Jukka Forsberg told how two girls had told him a man was shooting.

He said: ‘I saw a guy leaving a big black bag in the corridor and going into classroom number three and closing the door.


'I looked through the window and he immediately shot at me.

'Then I called the emergency number. Thank God I was not hit, he fired at me but I was running zigzag. I ran for my life.’


Police armed with guns and dogs scramble to take up position near the scene of the shooting this morning



Mr Forsberg added: ‘I heard constant shooting. Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots.

‘He changed another case in the gun. He was very well-prepared. He walked calmly.

‘I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door.’

Five armed police units surrounded the campus and ordered an evacuation as they tried to locate Saari - who remained at large for some time.

Police are tonight re-examining the YouTube footage to see if it gave any further clues for his motivation.

Four short clips, approximately 30 seconds long show Saari dressed in black and firing a handgun at a shooting range.


The school in Kauhajoki where many are feared dead after a male student opened fire on other students

On his profile, he had written the words: ‘And suddenly there was war and the mothers they screamed. For revenge and reprisals for another war.’

One video posting was made five days before the shooting and included a message saying: ‘Whole life is war and whole life is pain. And you will fight alone in your personal war.’

And he wrote on his profile that he enjoys horror movies including Saw and The Shining. He also writes that sex, computers, weapons and beer are his main hobbies, and that he enjoys listen to the bands Wumpscut, Rammstein, Metallica and Turmion Kätilöt.

Clips from the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado were listed among his favorite videos.

Minister of Domestic Issues Anne Holmlund confirmed police had been alerted to the videos and questioned the gunman on Monday.

Enlarge article-1060130-02C3A43900000578-905_233x553.jpg Kauhajoki is in west Finland


She said an investigation would now try to determine whether mistakes were made.

'We have to make sure exactly what happened then and review if the police should have suspected what was to happen and if they should have acted differently. The police may also be trained to better see threat pictures,’ she added.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said it was a ‘tragic day’ for Finland and declared tomorrow as a day of mourning.

The country is still struggling to recover from the horror of a shooting at a secondary school last year.

The gunman in that incident, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, who was one of the school's students, also warned of his massacre over YouTube in a chilling video in which he said he would "eliminate all I see".

He killed nine people: six students, the school principal and school nurse, and himself.

Witnesses said the Auvinen had clinically walked from classroom to classroom at Joleka High School in southern Finland, selecting his victims before shooting them.

The headmistress tried to stop him but he shot her seven times in front of a group of ninth graders.

Terrified pupils jumped for their lives from windows before the Auvinen shouted: "This is the start of the revolution" and shot himself in the head.

Before that the country had not experienced a school shooting since 1989.

Kauhajoki has a population of 14,596 and covers an area of 1,315.46km. The vast area means there are just 11.1 inhabitants per sq km.

Finland has one of the highest proportions of gun ownership in the world, with some two million guns in a population of five million.


It ranks third after the United States and Yemen, according to a study last year by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

After the Jokela rampage, the government said it would raise the minimum age for buying guns from 15 to 18, but insisted there was no need for sweeping changes to Finland's gun laws.

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Even with stricter gun laws, shootings will never stop. I swear there are so many shootings in the states and after each one happens I question it so much.


I agree strongly in banning private handguns, alot of people will be pissed, but I think it will keep ones country more safe. I dont like guns at all. my dad owns one and he goes target shooting with it. I just feel like a gun has nothing good about it, all i does it hurt or take a life away. I dont want that in my hand.*now im rambling*


Anyways, shootings dont happen because of the lack of gun control, shootings happen for many reasons. Its sad/depressing that they do happen and I hope soon the world figures out a way to solve it, but in all honesty, there will always be violence.. be it a bomb, a bullet, or a knife.


BUT WE ARE YOUNG, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. we are the future of this world, if we dont begin to change, i feel the world will stay the same.


there is soo much good in this world, but when an event like this shooting happens it seems that the good things just arent great enough.

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I agree with you 100 %. I hate that it seems like all that the government talks about are the gun laws. People can get guns illegally. Why do people do such things in the first place is the issue. what drives them to do such things. It's obvious people don't feel too good and we should do something about that...

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