An 18-year-old student went on a shooting spree Wednesday morning (November 7) inside Jokela High School in Tuusula, Finland, approximately 40 miles from the country's capital of Helsinki, killing at least eight people and injuring more than a dozen others, according to CNN. One of the victims, according to reports, was the school's headmistress. The suspected shooter, who had initially been listed in critical condition at Töölö Hospital, died later that same afternoon, CNN reports. Police say they believe he tried to take his own life.
According to CNN, police said the gunman, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, acted alone, had no previous history of criminal behavior and had never threatened anyone at the school before Wednesday's shooting. When SWAT teams entered the school in the morning, they discovered the gunman unconscious on the floor, with a gunshot wound to his head.
According to Reuters, the bodies of five boys, two girls and one adult woman were found at the scene.
The shooting is believed to be the first of its kind in Finland's history, and CNN reports that that Auvinen left several cryptic videos on YouTube, detailing how he'd carry out his deadly plan; all of the videos have since been removed from the site.
One of the 89 videos the shooter had uploaded to his account was titled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007," which warned of a bloodbath at the school. Other clips featured images of Hitler and tributes to cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Columbine gunman Eric Harris, the BTK killer and the Unabomber. Some included footage from the 1993 Waco siege, the 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo and bombs falling on Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.
Other videos showed Auvinen testing out his gun, which he had named Catherine, and some outlined the killer's beliefs, under the title "Natural Selector's Manifesto," which demanded war on the "weak-minded masses" and in which the shooter pledged to die for his cause.
According to CNN, "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007" depicted the school crumbling, to reveal two images of Auvinen against a red background, pointing a gun at the screen. The KMFDM song "Stray Bullet" served as the video's soundtrack. The same song's lyrics were quoted by Harris and his Columbine cohort, Dylan Klebold, in materials they'd released online before the 1999 massacre. Another short video clip, called "Just Testing My Gun," showed Auvinen loading and cocking a handgun. He fired and hit several pieces of fruit in a wooded area; he then waved at the camera and walked out of view.
In text posted on the site, Auvinen described himself as "a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and God-like atheist" who was "prepared to fight and die for my cause." He added that, "as a natural selector," he would "eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."
The shooting occurred around noon at the school, and several students ran for cover at a nearby elementary school. Kim Kiuru, a teacher at the school, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying he'd locked his classroom doors and tried to protect his students.
"After that, I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-caliber handgun in his hand through the doors towards me, after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction," Kiuru explained. He added that he'd seen a woman's body on the floor as he left the premises.
Around 81 percent of school attackers tell someone of their plans beforehand. If someone mentions or threatens to use violence against you or anyone else, don't be afraid to speak up. You can contact a parent, school administrator or law-enforcement agent for advice, or if you would like to take action anonymously, you can call Speak Up at (866) SPEAK-UP (866-773-2587). Speak Up is a national toll-free hotline for students to report threats of violence at school and feature both English- and Spanish-speaking operators. After talking with you, they can work with your school and local officials to evaluate the situation and act accordingly on the potential threat. Go here for more information on this service.
[This story was originally published at 1:29 p.m. ET on 11.07.07]