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At Least 11 Dead after Kauhajoki School Shooting

Police confirm that at least 11 students are dead and three wounded after a student opened fire at the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality, a vocational school in western Finland. The attacker shot himself, dying in the early evening at Tampere University Hospital.

One seriously injured victim is being treated in Seinäjoki. Several others, who were lightly wounded, were treated at the local health clinic.

School headmaster Tapio Varmola says the perpetrator opened fire on a group of students that were taking a test in a basement classroom around 11 a.m.

The gunman may also have been carrying explosives. A fire broke out, which took several hours to extinguish. Some 150 students were on the school premises at the time.

The Kauhajoki School of Hospitality is one of 11 campuses of the Seinäjoki Vocational Education Centre (SEDU).

Dozens of Shots Fired

The entire incident lasted about an hour and a half. During that time, dozens of shots were fired, including three or four shots aimed at police. Nine of the dead students were found in the same classroom, and one elsewhere. Some had been badly burned by the fire.

Jukka Forsberg, a maintenance worker at the school, told YLE he saw a man with a ski mask entering the building with a large bag. Soon after, he heard shots fired. Student witnesses say the shooter was seen moving around the school with a handgun.

Warning on YouTube?

The suspected perpetrator, Matti Saari, a culinary student aged 22, posted several videos in recent weeks on YouTube showing himself firing a pistol, which he bought last month. According to Interior Minister Anne Holmlund, he was questioned by police concerning the videos on Monday, but no further steps were deemed necessary.

Following the killings, police carried out a search of his apartment, where he apparently lived alone. They found a message related to the attack and empty cartridge boxes.

In the videos, a young man calling himself "Mr Saari" and listing his hometown as Kauhajoki is pictured shooting pistols at a shooting range. The approximately one-and-a half minute videos were added to YouTube, most recently five days ago.

The case closely resembles a school shooting last November, in which a troubled 18-year-old student opened fire and killed eight people at his high school before killing himself in the town of Jokela in Tuusula, southern Finland.

The investigation is being handled by the National Bureau of Investigation.

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