Gunman kills five in Finnish mall rampage

Nordic nation's third mass killing in as many years

After two mass shootings in two years, Finns had been hoping they had seen an end to such murderous outbreaks. But yesterday the small Scandinavian nation's nightmare returned when a solitary gunman dressed in black killed five shop assistants near Helsinki, sparking fresh concerns over the country's liberal gun laws.

The gunman, who had previous convictions for gun offences, shot his ex-girlfriend with an unlicensed handgun at her flat in the town of Espoo, six miles west of the capital, yesterday morning before going on to kill a woman and three men at a crowded shopping centre nearby.

The 43-year-old gunman, Ibrahim Shkupolli, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, was later found dead in his home in Espoo after shooting himself. He had been living in Helsinki for several years.

Police were called to Sello shopping centre at around 10am yesterday amid scenes of panic. The centre was already crowded when the gunman opened fire at Prisma supermarket. "There were lots of people who were crying, and many vendors were completely panicked," one witness told state broadcaster YLE. Another shopper said she had seen Shkupolli rush past supermarket shoppers queuing for the till, carrying a long- barrelled pistol.

"The first announcement was to close the shop and get everybody out," a shop assistant, Joonatan Hongel, told Associated Press Television News. "Immediately after the first shooting they announced that we could re-open the shop, but then five minutes later there was an announcement to close the shops again and get everyone out."

Shkupolli's 42-year-old Finnish ex-girlfriend, who worked at the shopping centre, had taken out a restraining order against him, police said.

Police scoured the city using helicopters and stopping trains for several hours, while warnings were put out that Shkupolli, who was convicted of firearms offences in 2004 and 2007, was armed and dangerous.

This is the third such incident in Finland in as many years. In November 2007, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed seven pupils and a teacher before killing himself at his school in Tuusula. Then in September 2008, trainee chef Matti Saari, 22, killed nine students and one member of staff at a vocational college in the western town of Kauhajoki before turning the gun on himself. So far no links have been drawn between yesterday's shooting and the previous two, but it has provoked fresh calls for stricter firearms regulations.

Finland, a nation of 5.3 million, has a long tradition of hunting and ranks among the top five nations in the world in civilian gun ownership. It has 1.6m firearms in private hands.

Social workers and religious leaders have all urged tighter gun laws, more vigilance of internet sites and more social bonding in this small nation, which is known for its high suicide rates, heavy drinking and domestic violence.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test