A violent incident occurred on Tuesday in the facilities of Savo Vocational College (Savon Ammattiopisto), which are located at the premises of the shopping mall Herman, in the eastern city of Kuopio. 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 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, Antti Hedman, Chief Medical Officer of Kuopio University Hospital, told Yle.
The alleged perpetrator is one of the school students, born in 1994 and without criminal background, the Finnish police said in a press conference. The motive for the attack is still unknown.
The suspected person responsible for the stabbing in #Kuopio is a student of the college. The suspect had a sabre-like bladed weapon and a firearm in possession. Among the injured individuals are both students and staff members. #police— Itä-Suomen poliisi (@PoliisiIS) October 1, 2019
The police used a firearm in order to stop the attacker and to control the situation. At 12:37, the suspect was arrested.
According to the investigators, the suspect is a native Finnish man who used "an edged weapon" (saber-type) and who was also in possession of a firearm. The police has not still evaluated if he used the firearm in the incident. He has been taken to Kuopio University Hospital and he is in intensive care.
Kauppakeskus Hermannissa väkivaltainen välikohtaus -poliisi on käyttänyt ampuma-asetta https://t.co/gwDwLeUHd2— PoliisinTiedotteet (@PoliisiTiedote) October 1, 2019
According to the information released by the East Finland Police Department, the 10 injured persons have been taken to hospital. Of them, two are "severely" injured but their condition is stable. The other eight, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries.
The suspect, apparently shot by the police, is one of those persons taken to hospital. The police have been searching his apartment. The National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi) is now responsible for continuing the investigation.
The perpetrator is suspected of murder as well as of several other attempted violent crimes. The concrete criminal titles will be specified as the investigation progresses.
The police did not provide any details about which was the attacker's motivation. However, witnesses have told that everything started when the suspect came in and took a sword out of a bag. At the time of the attack, there were more than 300 persons in the school, most of them aged 16 to 19 years old but also adults.
The vocational school attacked is located in the second floor of the shopping mall. The police are inspecting the premises in order to assure they are secure. The building will probably be isolated on Wednesday, police said.
A violent attack in the facilities of Savo Vocational College by the shopping mall Hermanni in #Kuopio. Police has used a firearm and the suspect is in police custody. Facilities have been evacuated and police is inspecting the building. #police— Itä-Suomen poliisi (@PoliisiIS) October 1, 2019
Shortly after the incident, the police denied the rumor that an armed person would be out of control through the streets of Kuopio. "This information is false. There is no imminent threat to viewers regarding the situation at Hermanni facilities", police remarked through their Twitter account.
There have been rumors about an armed person moving in the area of Petonen in #Kuopio. This information is false. There is no imminent threat to bystanders regarding the situation in the facilities of Hermanni. #police— Itä-Suomen poliisi (@PoliisiIS) October 1, 2019
Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) said also in Twitter that violence is "completely unacceptable" and he sent his condolences to the relatives of the people affected.
Savon ammattiopistossa Kuopiossa tapahtunut väkivallanteko on järkyttävä ja täysin tuomittava. Olen keskustellut poliisiylijohtajan kanssa ja hallitus seuraa tilannetta tarkasti. Esitän omasta ja koko hallituksen puolesta surunvalitteluni kaikille omaisille.— Antti Rinne (@AnttiRinnepj) October 1, 2019
Later, in a statement released by the Government Communications Department, Antti Rinne condemned the act of violence in Kuopio and thanked the police and other authorities for their swift action.
“It is important to let the police and other authorities managing the situation continue their work without interruption. Thanks to the highly professional, swift actions of the police, the suspect has been caught and the injured taken into care. The communication by the police has also functioned very well. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the police and to the other authorities who, in their duties, look after the safety of all people every day," Primer Minister said.
Minister of Education Li Andersson (Left Alliance) also remarked that "every child and young person has the right to study in safety, without fear of violence".
Haluan osoittaa tukeni ja syvimmät osanottoni väkivallanteon uhreille ja heidän omaisilleen. Jokaiselle lapselle ja nuorelle kuuluu oikeus opiskella turvassa, vailla pelkoa väkivallasta. Tänään Kuopiossa tapahtunut väkivallanteko on järkyttävä ja koskettaa meitä kaikkia syvästi.— Li Andersson (@liandersson) October 1, 2019