Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eight Women Were Victims of Finland's College Killer; Internet Killer: Saari Was Quizzed by Police after Posting This Video of Himself. Main Picture, Relatives of the Dead Prepare to Leave a Candle at the College

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eight Women Were Victims of Finland's College Killer; Internet Killer: Saari Was Quizzed by Police after Posting This Video of Himself. Main Picture, Relatives of the Dead Prepare to Leave a Candle at the College

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

THE gunman who went on a killing spree at his college in Finland targeted female students, it emerged today.

Matti Saari, 22, killed eight women among the 10 people he shot in yesterday's massacre at a vocational college school in Kauhajoki, a rural town about 200 miles from Helsinki. One of his two male victims was a teacher. Another female student was wounded and is recovering in hospital.

Saari then set fire to the bodies using inflammable liquid he had taken with him, making identification of the bodies more difficult.

Police also revealed today they were tipped off on Friday that Saari was planning a shooting spree at the college.

It prompted police to question Saari on Monday after he posted videos on the internet site YouTube in which he fired a pistol and warned: "You will die next." Saari, who died in hospital after shooting himself in the head, had been plotting mass murder as long ago as 2002, police said.

But police refused to comment on why Saari was questioned on Monday and then released. He was allowed to keep his .22 calibre automatic pistol because it was licensed and he had not broken any laws.

Police said they arrived at the scene within 10 minutes of receiving the alarm. The gunman fired several shots at the officers but none of them was hit.

They did not return fire, said Jari Neulaniemi, who heads the inquiry.

He added: "He really went out with the intention of killing. He left at home a message saying he wanted to murder as many people as possible. In the note he said he hated mankind and the human race. And that he had been planning this since 2002." Finland's prime minister today called for gun laws to be tightened. Matti Vanhanen said he believed handguns should no longer be used outside shooting ranges. He said: "We have to tighten the law significantly. In terms of handguns that can easily be carried about, we have to think about whether they should be available for private people. …

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