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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 16:31 GMT
Finland gunman suicide note found
Picture of Pekka-Eric Auvinen taken from his website
Pekka-Eric Auvinen apparently selected his victims at random
Police in Finland have found a suicide note written by an 18-year-old student shortly before he went on a gun rampage at his school and killed eight people.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen said goodbye to his family and explained his hatred towards society, the police said.

Auvinen gave a warning of the shooting in a video posted on the internet.

Wreaths and candles have been placed around the grounds of the school in Tuusula, north of Helsinki, and a national day of mourning has been held.

Local education officials have also set up a crisis centre in a nearby church to help those affected by the tragedy.

'Random killings'

Investigators said Auvinen appeared bent on causing maximum bloodshed when he opened fire with a pistol at Jokela High School on Wednesday morning, killing the headmistress, a nurse and six fellow pupils.

"Auvinen had 500 cartridges on him. Thus far 69 cartridge cases were found in the school building," a police spokesman said, adding that all of the dead had been shot several times.

Bullet-ridden windows inside Jokela High School in Tuusula
This is an awful day... The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society
Matti Vanhanen
Finnish Prime Minister

Detective Superintendent Tero Haapala said Auvinen had apparently selected his victims at random.

"There's nothing that links him with the victims except that they attended the same school," he told the Associated Press news agency.

After police surrounded the school building, Auvinen turned his weapon on himself. He was taken to hospital with critical head wounds and later died.

Det Haapala described the young man as a "lonely rider" who had been bullied by other students at the secondary school, which has 400 pupils between 12 and 18.

He added that the motive behind the attack remained unclear, "but the explanation can be found mainly in his web writings and his social behaviour".

Going by the username Sturmgeist89, Auvinen posted a home-made film called "Jokela High School massacre 11/7/2007" on YouTube showing him pointing a gun and declaring himself a "social Darwinist" who would "eliminate all who I see unfit".

'Day of sorrow'

A national day of mourning was held across Finland on Thursday for the victims of the deadliest peacetime shooting in the nation's history.

Students grieve outside Jokela High School in Tuusula
Wreaths and candles have been laid around the school in Tuusula

Several grieving students laid wreaths and candles around the school, which was still sealed off by police to allow forensic experts to reconstruct the incident.

After a memorial service at Helsinki Cathedral, President Tarja Halonen called on Finns to support each other in a "day of sorrow" for the country.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen described the shooting as a "great tragedy".

"This is an awful day... The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society... Nobody had expected such things," he said.

Following the incident, the Finnish government met in an emergency session to consider tightening school security.

Correspondents say that although gun ownership in Finland is the third highest in the world, incidents of this kind are extremely rare in a country that prides itself on very low levels of violent crime.


Students and staff in shock after the shootings

Finland mourns shooting victims
08 Nov 07 |  Europe
In pictures: Finland school shooting
07 Nov 07 |  In Pictures
Country profile: Finland
01 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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