School massacre: Ninth graders saw killing of school principal
Killer fired 69 shots, had over 300 bullets
A group of ninth graders at the Jokela School in Tuusula were eyewitnesses to the execution-style killing of their school's head teacher Helena Kalmi by gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen on Wednesday.
Watching from their classroom window, they saw Kalmi first fleeing the attacker, but later she went back. Auvinen forced Kalmi onto her knees and then shot her.
Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the shocked school pupils have later told their teachers what they saw. Kalmi's body was later found at the scene of the killing.
The head of the investigation, Rabbe von Hertzen of the National Bureau of Investigation, says that the police have not found any indication that Auvinen would have deliberately targeted the principal from the outset.
However, Helsingin Sanomat has been told that there had been an argument between Auvinen and the principal before Wednesday.
Eyewitnesses said that the school nurse had been shot as she tried to help other victims of the shooting. Police had long thought that the body of the fairly small woman had been that of a student.
Forensic pathologist Antti Sajantila does not believe that any of the victims could have survived even if they had received immediate treatment.
Most of his victims had been shot in the head and chest. The number of bullets in each victim varied from a few to about 20.
"The seriousness of the injuries is evidenced by the fact that the victims had not moved at all after being shot."
During the approximately 20 minutes that the shooting spree lasted, Auvinen fired at least 69 rounds.
Another 320 unused bullets were found in his possession. He had also tried unsuccessfully to set fire to the school, using a liquid fuel.
Police said on Thursday that Auvinen shot some of the people he confronted at the school, and left others alone. It appears that he chose his victims at random.
Finally, Auvinen shot himself in the head. Police found him injured in a toilet at 2:53 PM. The police operation nevertheless continued for another two hours.
The police proceeded through the large school one classroom at a time to make sure that there were not more shooters.
In addition to his expressions of anger on the Internet, Pekka-Eric Auvinen wrote a suicide message to his parents, in which he bade his parents farewell and ranted against society.
Police say that Auvinen's parents have received threats after the shooting, and they have been given special protection.
Previously in HS International Edition:
BREAKING NEWS:Death toll in school shooting reaches nine (7.11.2007)
Gunman and eight others die in school shooting spree (8.11.2007)