Finnish public opinion attended yesterday in shock to a new episode of one of its worst nightmares: an uncontrolled individual who sows violence in a school. An event that on Tuesday caused many in this quiet country to remember other killings in schools, such as those occurred in Jokela (November 2007) and Kauhajoki (September 2008).
According to the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti, the attacker is Joel Otto Aukusti Marin, a 25-year-old student of Savo Vocational College, an institution located on the second floor of the Herman Shopping Center, about two kilometers from the center of Kuopio (east Finland).
At 12:29 the police received a report about a man armed with a saber-shaped weapon and a firearm who broke into the school and attacked the people who were there.
As a result, one young woman was killed and 10 resulted injured, including the suspect and a police officer. Among the injured there are also other students and staff members from the school, most of them women between 15 and 50 years old.
The police had to shoot twice in order to stop the perpetrator, who is in intensive care.
During the evening, the police of East Finland informed of the events in several releases, a press conference and through their Twitter account, before transferring the case to the National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi). However, in the case there are several unknowns that have not yet been clarified:
1. The motive for the attack
Police refused to make any comments on the possible motive for the attack. However, on Tuesday night, the National Bureau of Investigation published a press release in the Police website explaining that in general, acts of this kind "are not typically instantaneous, but driven by a long process of accentuating the personal problems" of the perpetrator.
"In most of the cases, these people plan the act long before it is implemented. Planning usually takes months, sometimes even years", commented Criminal Inspector Arto Tuomela, from the National Bureau of Investigation. It is also common to find social and mental health problems in the attacker's background.
2. Did the suspect know his victims?
Local Newspaper Keskisuomalainen said the young woman who was killed in the incident was "the main target" of the attack. Finnish medical services commented that most of the injured are also women, between 15 and 50 years old. Some of them are students and there are also staff members of the educational institution, which is located in the second floor of the Herman shopping mall.
Police has not confirmed if the attacker knew the victims or if those were randomly selected.
3. Did the attacker shoot someone?
In addition to the saber gun, the suspect was carrying a firearm.
The first information indicated that the suspect had carried out the killing only with the sharp weapon. However, in the evening the police said it was still being investigated if he had also used the firearm. No details were released about the type of firearm.
4. Was the suspect drugged?
After conducting a search in his apartment in Särkiniemi neighbourhood, the police said they found "carefully constructed" incendiary devices cocktail-Molotov type. However, they did not comment on whether they found traces of illegal drugs or other intoxicants. They just said this matter was under investigation.
5. Was it a suicide attack?
Unlike the other attacks in Finnish schools mentioned above, the perpetrator survived the incident after being shot by the Police. It is not clear if the suspect intended to survive his action or leave his life in it. Like other victims, he remains at Kuopio University Hospital. His life is not in danger, but he is seriously injured so he could not be interrogated yet.