Skip to main content

Finnish police identify massacre victims

  • Story Highlights
  • Eight females, two males killed after gunman rampaged through college
  • PM calls for tighter gun controls after shootings in southern Finland
  • Gunman was issued with a temporary gun license last month
  • Govt. to probe the fact police interviewed gunman a day before the shootings
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

KAUHAJOKI, Finland (CNN) -- Police in Finland have identified the 10 victims in Tuesday's college shooting as eight female students, a male student and a male teacher.

The bodies of the victims were also badly burned after being set on fire.

The gunman -- identified by authorities as Matti Juhani Saari -- also died after turning the gun on himself.

In addition, one woman was seriously wounded in the shooting.

Finnish police had interviewed and released Saari a day before Tuesday's bloody rampage at a college in Kauhajoki in southwestern Finland, the country's interior minister said Tuesday.

Finnish broadcaster YLE reported that police found a note at Saari's apartment saying he planned the attack since 2002 because he hated "people and the human race," according to Jari Neulaniemi of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Neulaniemi told YLE that the shooting took place in a single classroom. Nine of the victims were found in the classroom and one in the corridor, the report said.

Authorities say they became interested in the 22-year-old student after he posted four videos on YouTube. One of them showed him firing a pistol at a shooting range.

Saari did not directly threaten anyone in the videos, so there were no grounds for further action, national police Commissioner Mikko Paatero told YLE.

However, Interior Minister Anne Holmlund suggested the government will investigate how the police handled the case. Video Watch as the people of Kauhajoki mourn the victims »

"It's clear that we have to carefully go through what should have been done and if we could have avoided this situation in some way," The Associated Press quoted her as saying.

Finnish President Tarja Halonen, speaking from the United Nations' annual General Assembly in New York, also raised concerns about the YouTube videos.

"We, parents and elderly people, have a little bit of feeling about the Internet," she said during an impromptu TV interview. "It's like a strange planet for us. But it's not so. It's part of our world, so we have to step in."

However she praised efforts by police, who she said "were already on board" by interviewing Saari. Authorities hoped that was enough to take care of any threat, but "now we see that it was not," she said.

The massacre in Kauhajoki, 290 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Helsinki, was Finland's second school shooting in less than a year and renewed calls for a review of the country's laws on gun ownership. Video Watch pictures from the scene »

"We must considerably tighten them," Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen told YLE during a visit to the town early Wednesday.

"We should consider whether to allow these small arms for private citizens at home. They belong on firing ranges."

MTV-3's Foreign Editor Risto Puolimatka told CNN that Saari was issued with a temporary gun license last month. It was the gunman's first license, Puolimatka said.

Authorities learned about the videos Friday but could not reach Saari until Monday, Paatero told YLE. Police also searched his home, YLE reported.

Four videos of a man firing a pistol at a shooting range were posted by a "Mr. Saari" from Kauhajoki, where the college is based, according to his profile on video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Don't Miss

The profile also included a video tribute to the Columbine High School shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, at the top of the man's favorites list.

The videos were posted over a three-week period this month. None was posted in the last week. Video Watch more about the YouTube videos »

The account was suspended within hours of the shooting, which began about 11 a.m. local time (0800 GMT.)

Jukka Forsberg, a maintenance worker at the school, told YLE that the gunman was wearing a ski mask and walked into the building with a large bag. About 150 students were on campus Kauhajoki city's School of Hospitality in southwestern Finland.

Forsberg said, "I heard several dozen rounds of shots. In other words, it was an automatic pistol. I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning, and one managed to escape out the back door."


Saari died Tuesday afternoon from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at Tampere University Hospital, said medical director Matti Lehto. At least one other person suffered serious injuries in the shooting, he added.

The incident comes almost a year after another school shooting left nine people, including the gunman, dead in the Finnish town of Tuusala.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

All About Finland

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print