BREAKING NEWS:Death toll in school shooting reaches nine
Suspected gunman dies of self-inflicted bullet
Hospital sources have confirmed to Helsingin Sanomat that eight people were killed in a shooting incident at a school in Jokela in the municipality of Tuusula north of Helsinki on Wednesday.
Five male and two female students at the school lost their lives, as well as the school's head teacher. The shooter, an 18-year-old pupil of the school, was armed with a handgun. He shot himself in the head and died of his injuries in hospital late Wednesday night, never regaining consciousness.
There were many injuries, resulting from both the gunfire and wounds sustained while escaping.
Pupils were evacuated to the nearby Perttu School and Jokela Church.
The gunman was seen by local resident Anna-Liisa Vainio, who was coming to the school to meet with her daughter's teacher.
She said that she saw four pupils lying on the floor of the corridor. At first she thought that some kind of a rescue drill was going on, and then she saw the shooter with a gun in his hand.
Tuomas Hulkkonen, a member of the graduating class of the upper secondary school, says that he has known the gunman for ten years - since the lower grades. Hulkkonen says that in recent days he had been acting strangely, drawing pictures involving firearms. When asked about it, he said that he was joking. He also said that the suspected gunman had shooting as a hobby.
Hulkkonen says that he last spoke to the suspect on Tuesday. "Pretty hard to digest this equation, when a guy you know does something like this."
A teacher at the school characterised the suspect as a militant radical. He had been interested in both extreme left and extreme right-wing ideas, as well as history and philosophy.
References to an impending attack in Jokela have been found on the Internet.
In one package a young man is depicted in several photographs with a hand gun wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Humanity is overrated".
Similar material was found on line in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech in the United States - apparently left by the shooter.
One video shows a young man shooting at an apple in a forest apparently just a day before the shooting spree in Jokela. The man also took a picture of his SIG Sauer pistol.
In an information package with 21 files there was also a text of more than 1,000 words with the title "Manifesto of a Natural Selector".
"I cannot say that I am of the same race as this miserable, arrogant and selfish human race. No! I have evolved a step higher", the man writes.
The text ends with the words "To each what they deserve".
He had also outlined the planned course of events for Wednesday. The text was last revised on Tuesday at 11:44 PM.
. Before the shooting he placed a video on the YouTube website with the title "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007".
The Jokela School Centre at Jyväkuja 13 has an upper-level comprehensive school and an upper level secondary school. Last year the two schools had a combined 480 pupils.
A crisis centre has been set up to relay news to parents, who are asked to call 09-4172131 for more information.
The Finnish Red Cross has also set up a hotline for those needing help in dealing with the crisis. The telephone number is 020366266.
Neither of the numbers should be considered sources for those following news developments in the case.