A fatal shooting occurred at midnight on Saturday in the city of Imatra, where a 23-year-old assailant killed three women with a rifle, police say.
One of the victims was the chair of the Imatra City Council, and the two others were local print journalists. Police deny all rumours surrounding the motivation of the crime, which they are treating as murder.
The hunting rifle used in the murder had a permit, but did not belong to the attacker, police say.
The shooter has been apprehended and the scene of the crime, restaurant Vuoksenvahti, has been cordoned off.
"The persons were exiting the restaurant when they were fired upon," Yle reporter Jari Tanskanen said on site this morning. "People here are devastated."
Course of events
Police received an alert at 00.00 on Saturday of a man with a gun in front of restaurant Vuoksenvahti. Police were some 300 metres from the scene at the time of the call.
As the patrol came nearer to the scene local people directed the police to the front of the restaurant, where the situation was described as hectic. A 23-year-old man was pointed out and allegedly identified as the shooter.
The man was standing in front of a parked car in front of the restaurant. He followed police orders and was apprehended without incident.
Three lifeless female bodies were found lying in front of the restaurant. The women had sustained gunshot wounds to the head and torso. No other victims are reported.
An ambulance and several police patrols also arrived at the scene. The suspect has not yet been interrogated.
Police say they do not yet know the alleged shooter's motive for the crime. The man is suspected to have used a rifle to carry out the shooting.
Emergency crisis centre opened
A local emergency crisis centre has been opened in Imatra for all those shocked by the crime. The crisis centre at Olavinkatu 13 has church and volunteer rescue workers on hand.
A small number of people have already visited the crisis centre, which will remain open until 7 p.m. on Sunday. A possible extension to the opening hours of the centre will be considered later today Sunday.
"We are working closely with law enforcement and the rescue services," says Saara Raudasoja from the South Karelia Social and Health Care District. "We all react strongly when people die. We have rehearsed crisis situations and health workers are on site to help those upset by the events of last night."
Edited to include updated information.