Four dead in shopping centre shooting in Finland

Thursday, December 31, 2009

HELSINKI - A gunman killed three men and a woman in a shopping centre in the Finnish city of Espoo Thursday.

The man, still on the loose, was identified by police as a 43-year-old with a criminal record.

Witnesses said the man, dressed in black, fired multiple rounds from his automatic pistol, causing panic in the Sello shopping centre.

Police released no initial information about possible additional casualties.

Witnesses said the gunman first opened fire in the electronics department of the Prisma supermarket, where he killed an employee with two shots to the head. He then fired shots in the meat department before fleeing.

A major police hunt was underway. A helicopter was being used in the search.

Police also shut down and cordoned off the shopping centre and sealed the nearby Leppavaara train station.

The city of Espoo has a population of around 250,000. The headquarters of mobile phone maker Nokia is based there.

Finland has suffered two major school shootings and a bombing in recent years.

In September 2008, a student opened fire in a vocational school, killing nine classmates and a teacher. The 22-year-old then shot and killed himself.

In late 2007, an 18-year-old student killed six fellow students, a nurse, and the headmaster, before shooting himself in the head.

After the most recent shooting, the Finnish government adopted tougher gun laws.

Filed under: Crime

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