Shooting Finland

Shooting Finland:

A gunman opened fire inside a busy shopping center near the Finnish capital of Helsinki on Thursday, leaving at least four people dead, local broadcasters reported.

State broadcaster YLE named the gunman as 43-year-old Ibrahim Shkupolli. It said he was armed and still at large, with police searching for him all over the town.

The shooting happened around 10:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. ET) at the Sello shopping center in the town of Espoo, just to the west of Helsinki, witnesses said.

The mall was busy with shoppers when the gunman started shooting at a grocery store inside the mall, said Mika Pettersson, editor-in-chief of Finnish news agency STT.

"People saw a gunman, calm, walking out of the grocery store after shooting," he said. "People first thought it was fireworks that had been exploding, but after they realized what had happened, there was a panic."

YLE said the four dead included three women and one man. It said the gunman used a 9mm handgun.

Initial reports that the gunman was still inside the mall were now unconfirmed, Pettersson said, and the gunman's whereabouts were unclear.

IReport: Are you there? Send your photos and videos

There are rumors that the gunman was motivated by jealousy because of a relationship, reporter Pout Anan, from CNN affiliate MTV3, told CNN. Police did not immediately confirm a motive.

Restaurant manager Naresh Gaonkar, who runs the Intialainen Ravintola Curry Palace across the street from the mall, told CNN there were police helicopters overhead and many police cars driving past with armed officers.

Trains going through Espoo were stopped because of the shooting, Gaonkar said.

Employees of the grocery store where the attack happened were evacuated so quickly that they didn't have time to put on their winter wear, Anan reported. They were waiting outside in T-shirts in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius, or 14 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.

Gaonkar said many of them were inside his restaurant to stay warm.

Other lone gunmen have carried out two recent high-profile shootings in Finland.

In September 2008, student Matti Juhani Saari, 22, killed 10 people before shooting himself in the head at Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences in Kauhajoki, Finland. Saari, who had been armed with a semi-automatic pistol and Molotov cocktails, posted YouTube videos of himself firing weapons before embarking on the massacre.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, killed seven fellow students and the principal at Jokela High School in Tuusula in November 2007 before shooting himself in the head.

Auvinen posted a YouTube video titled "Jokela High School Massacre" before the killing spree. In it he warned that he planned to "eliminate all who I see unfit." Brandishing a shotgun, the teenager was seen in the video wearing a T-shirt proclaiming "Humanity is Overrated."

Finland enjoys a strong tradition of hunting and has a high proportion of gun ownership, with two million firearms owned in a nation of five million people.

Comments (0)