‘Shocking:’ Sword-wielding student kills 1, wounds 9 at Finland school

Police cars stand on the blocked grounds of the Hermanni shopping centre in Kuopio, Finland, after an attack occurred on the premises of the Savo Vocational College on October 1, 2019. - A "violent incident" at a vocational college in Kuopio, eastern Finland, left one person dead and ten injured, including the suspected attacker, police said. (Photo by Hannu Rainamo / Lehtikuva / AFP)

HELSINKI — A man wielding a sword and a firearm killed a woman and wounded nine others Tuesday at a vocational school inside a shopping center in central Finland, police said. The attacker was seriously wounded after police opened fire, and he was taken into custody.

The police superintendent for eastern Finland, Mikko Lyytinen, told a news conference that officers were forced to shoot the man to prevent more bloodshed at the Herman shopping center in the town of Kuopio.

Police didn’t give the suspect’s age, but said he was born in 1994 and he’s a Finnish national without a prior criminal record. He was a student at the Savo Vocational College, which occupies the shopping center’s second floor.

The man’s apartment was later raided by police, and a cache of firebombs were found there. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were used in the rampage.

Police cars stand on the blocked grounds of the Hermanni shopping centre in Kuopio, Finland, after an attack occurred on the premises of the Savo Vocational College on October 1, 2019. – A “violent incident” at a vocational college in Kuopio, eastern Finland, left one person dead and ten injured, including the suspected attacker, police said. (Photo by Jaako VESTERINEN / LEHTIKUVA / AFP)

The motive for the attack remained unclear. The National Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation.

Police wouldn’t provide further details on the woman who was killed, but Finnish newspaper Keskisuomalainen said she was a student at the school and “the primary target” of the dark-clad attacker.

One police officer was slightly injured, and the rest of the wounded were students and staff of the school, mostly women aged 15-50. They were treated at a hospital for cuts. It wasn’t clear if the attacker used his firearm.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne tweeted that the violence was “shocking.”

The shopping center is located a few kilometers outside the center of Kuopio, about 220 miles northeast of the capital, Helsinki.

A witness told Finnish newspaper Iltalehti the man had entered a class with a bag and took out a sword and struck the teacher with it. Panic broke out among the students and some of them started to throw chairs at the attacker who fled the scene, Iltalehti reported.

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