Hyvinkää gunman has history of psychiatric disorder
Alcohol may have been involved
The motivation for the shooting in Hyvinkää in the early hours of Saturday remains a mystery. However, police are currently trying to piece together possible explanations for the action.
On Wednesday police reported that a breathalyser test showed that the confessed perpetrator, 18-year-old Eero Hiltunen, had a blood alcohol level of 0.25 per mille at 8:35 Saturday morning, about eight hours after the incident in which two people were killed and seven others injured.
When blood tests are analysed, police will try to estimate how intoxicated Hiltunen may have been at the time of the shooting. There is no indication that he would have consumed any alcohol after the act.
Also under investigation is Hiltunen’s state of health. “We are naturally also investigating the suspect’s health history in case there is something that needs to be taken into consideration”, says the head of the investigation, Mika Ihaksinen of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Police are not commenting further on the matter, but Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the suspect has a history of mental problems, and has been treated at a psychiatric hospital.
The suspect’s friends have said in press interviews that he had been out of school for six months in the ninth grade.
After completing comprehensive school he studied at the Hyria vocational school in Hyvinkää, but left the school last spring. Since then he has studied the real estate business in Järvenpää.
On Wednesday the late-edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported that he had been at school on Friday last week and that he enjoyed the school’s trainee programme.
Hiltunen’s lawyer Olli Etelämäki said on Wednesday that it was too early to say if the defence wanted a mental evaluation already during the preliminary police investigation.
“His mental state needs to be investigated at some point – that is clear.
He would not comment on his client’s state of health, or say if mental health issues had a role in the case. “Everyone can evaluate how ordinary this kind of behaviour is”, he says.
According to Hannu Lauerma, head physician of the Psychiatric Prisoner Hospital, and research professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), practically all perpetrators of tragedies such as the Hyvinkää shooting, have some kind of a mental disorder in the background.
One in ten perpetrators of homicides suffer from psychosis with delusions. Lauerma says that alcohol significantly increases the risk that a person with mental problems will act violently.
“It weakens a person’s ability to control his or her behaviour. The ability to be in charge of one’s actions is decreased further if there are existing problems in impulse control”, says Markku Eronen, a docent of forensic psychiatry and psychiatry, and the head physician of the Old Vaasa Hospital.
Meanwhile, the policewoman who was seriously injured in the shooting incident was reported to be in serious condition, but slightly more stable than before on Wednesday evening.
She has undergone four operations at Helsinki’s Töölö Hospital since the shooting. Four other young adults who were injured in the shooting are also hospitalised.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Hyvinkää shootings: Gunman shows remorse; policewoman still not out of danger (28.5.2012)
Two dead and seven injured in overnight shooting incident in Hyvinkää (25.5.2012)
Combat games alone not seen to inspire violence (30.5.2012)
Hyvinkää gunman Eero Hiltunen admits killings in remand appearance (29.5.2012)