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Pekka-Eric Auvinen

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Pekka-Eric Auvinen

Jokela school massacre
Location Jokela, Tuusula, Finland

60°32′56″N 024°57′49″E / 60.54889°N 24.96361°E / 60.54889; 24.96361Coordinates: 60°32′56″N 024°57′49″E / 60.54889°N 24.96361°E / 60.54889; 24.96361

Date November 7, 2007 (2007-11-07)
11:44–16:00[1] (UTC+2)
Target Jokela High School
Attack type School shooting, mass murder, murder–suicide, attempted arson
Weapon(s) SIG Mosquito .22 calibre
Deaths 9 (including the perpetrator)[2][3]
Injured (non-fatal) 12 (1 by gunfire)
Perpetrator Pekka-Eric Auvinen

The Jokela school massacre was a school shooting that occurred on November 7, 2007, at Jokela High School in Jokela, a town in the municipality of Tuusula, Finland. The gunman, 18-year-old student Pekka-Eric Auvinen, entered the school on that morning armed with a semi-automatic pistol. He killed eight people and wounded one person in the toe before shooting himself in the head; eleven others were also injured by flying shattered glass. Auvinen died later that evening in a Helsinki hospital.

This was the second school shooting in the history of Finland. The previous incident occurred in 1989 at the Raumanmeri school in Rauma, when a 14-year-old fatally shot two fellow students.[4] Less than one year after the Jokela school massacre, the Kauhajoki school shooting occurred in Kauhajoki, where a gunman shot and killed ten people before killing himself.

The massacre

At approximately 11:40 (09:40 UTC), Pekka-Eric Auvinen entered the school's main hallway at Jokela High School. The emergency services received the first phone call at 11:43. Most victims were later found in the entrance hallway of the school. At 11:44, school principal Helena Kalmi ordered all students and teachers to barricade themselves inside their classrooms. Kalmi then left the school administration office and tried to convince Auvinen to surrender. Auvinen shot Kalmi seven times in view of a group of students in the school yard, killing her.[5] The school nurse later tried to help wounded students, but Auvinen killed her as well.[6] Auvinen then began walking around the school, knocking on classroom doors. He shouted orders at some of the students, proclaimed a revolution, and urged the students to destroy school property. He also aimed his weapon at some people without shooting them.[7] The victims sustained multiple injuries to the upper body and head.[8] He later began pouring two-stroke engine fuel (a gasoline and oil mixture) on corridor walls and floors, but he was not able to ignite the fuel.[9]

A police patrol vehicle arrived at 11:55, followed later by about one hundred police officers at about 12:30, including the Karhuryhmä special operations unit. Even off-duty police officers arrived and surrounded the school. When the police tried to negotiate with Auvinen, he answered by firing a shot at the police at 12:04 local time. No officers were hit.

The shooting ended after 40 minutes when Auvinen shot himself in the head at 12:24. The police entered the school at 13:53. Auvinen was found in a boys' lavatory still alive but unconscious at 13:54. The police searched one room at a time for other shooters. The police were not able to secure the building until shortly before 16:00. No police officers fired their weapons.

Auvinen was taken to the Töölö Hospital of the Helsinki University Central Hospital at 14:45 where he died at 22:15 from the self-inflicted gunshot wound.[10][11][12]

The perpetrator

The perpetrator of the Jokela school shooting, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, was a student at Jokela High School. He was born on June 4, 1989, in Tuusula, Finland. His father was a part-time musician and full-time railroad worker, and his mother was former deputy of the Tuusula municipal council.[13] He also had a brother seven years his junior.

He described himself in oxymoronic terms, "a cynical existentialist, antihuman humanist, antisocial social darwinist [sic], realistic idealist and godlike atheist" on his YouTube user page Sturmgeist89.[14][15] The police investigation confirmed that Auvinen was frequently bullied at school.[16] One of his teachers described him as militant radical interested in both far-right and far-left movements. He was also interested in history and philosophy.[17]

He had irregularly taken SSRI-antidepressants one year prior to his death. These antidepressants are said to cause suicidal tendencies as a side-effect in early ages between 18 and 24.[18]

Firearm acquisition

Auvinen had received his gun licence three weeks before the shooting. He was a registered member of the Helsinki Shooting Club. A club spokesman revealed that Auvinen had only attended a single one-hour training session.[8] His SIG Mosquito .22 calibre pistol had been legally obtained and registered to Auvinen on October 19. He had been given the licence since he was a member of a local shooting club and held no previous criminal record.

The Finnish police usually require a shooting hobby to begin with a .22 calibre weapon. The police cannot mandate that sports shooting take place in a club, or even in any kind of company; in the case of relatively low risk weapons, the permit decision may be based entirely on information provided by the applicant. Membership in a shooting club is nevertheless considered a risk control. Auvinen himself wanted to purchase a Beretta 9 mm pistol, but the application was rejected by police.[19]

Videos and writings

Pekka-Eric Auvinen uploaded a home-made video entitled "Jokela High School Massacre – 11/7/2007" to YouTube announcing the "massacre" hours prior to the shooting. KMFDM's "Stray Bullet" was used as background music.[20] Videos of him shooting his new gun had been uploaded weeks prior to the shooting.[21] Several hours after the event, YouTube suspended some videos belonging to the user account Sturmgeist89 and Naturalselector89 due to relations with the shootings.[22] His previous YouTube account name was "naturalselector89", which he used from March until it was suspended in October. Many of his videos were about other shootings and violent incidents, including the Columbine High School massacre, the Waco Siege, the Tokyo sarin gas attack, and bombing during the Iraq invasion.[2] Several months before the shooting, a YouTube user under the name “TheAmazingAtheist” suggested that 11 users who uploaded videos glorifying the Columbine shooters be investigated by the authorities. One of the usernames included was “naturalselector89” which belonged to Pekka-Eric Auvinen.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

According to his Manifesto,[29] his motivation was alienation and contempt for humanity. Auvinen was disillusioned with democracy, writing "Democracy is a dictatorship of the moral majority... and the majority is manipulated and ruled by the state mafia", as well as the "devolution" of the human race due to "stupid , weak-minded people...reproducing more and faster than the intelligent, strong-minded people". He stated that he was hoping to inspire a revolution of the "small minority of strong-minded and intelligent individuals" against the "idiocracy" of the "weak-minded masses".[14] He asserted that he did not want anything or anyone to be blamed for the shooting, and that he had planned it "in [his] own head".[30] He left a media package on Rapidshare, a hosting site, explaining his actions and his motives for the shooting. It includes details of the attack, a manifesto, his “loves & hates”, some images of himself and a video of him firing a handgun. "I am prepared to fight and die for my cause", read a posting by Sturmgeist. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection." "Sturmgeist" means storm spirit in German.[2]

Although most of the original videos and files have been removed, Auvinen's media package can still be found on the internet.[31]

Several newspapers have suggested similarities between and inspirations for Auvinen's actions in the Columbine shootings. Auvinen's YouTube videos included footage related to Columbine. The KMFDM track used in his video, "Stray Bullet", was also used on the website of Columbine shooter Eric Harris.[32][dubious ]

Criminal investigation

The police found 76 shells and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the scene. Flammable liquid was found poured on the walls and floors of the second floor, suggesting that Auvinen had attempted to set the school on fire. They also found Auvinen's suicide note and began analysing his Internet postings.[33][34]

A spokesman for the cyber crime department of Helsinki police has stated that "it's highly probable that there was some form of contact between Pekka-Eric Auvinen and" Dillon Cossey, the 14-year-old boy arrested in October on suspicion of planning an attack on his school in a suburb of Philadelphia.[35]

A 2,000-page police report into the shooting was released in April 2008.[36]

Responses to the incident

FinlandFlags were flown at half-staff on Thursday, November 8, 2007 throughout the country by officials and private entities alike and the Finnish government held a moment of silence while in session. The Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen sent "his government's heartfelt condolences", strongly noting the need of the media, the parents and the schools to discuss the incident in correct light. The Finnish National Board of Education immediately posted directions for the teachers and principals on how to discuss the shootings with pupils, alongside with shorter instructions for parents. President Tarja Halonen sent her condolences as well.[37][38][39] The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has opened a crisis center, situated in the Church of Jokela, in which professional help is administered to those afflicted by the tragedy.[40] A number of groups appeared on IRC-Gallery and Facebook to grieve or commemorate the victims [41]

The Lutheran Archbishop Jukka Paarma of Turku, the Orthodox Archbishop Leo of Karelia, the Catholic Bishop Józef Wróbel of Helsinki and other church authorities have expressed their condolences to the relatives and loved ones of those who died in the massacre.[42][43][44] Throughout the country, church buildings have been open for anyone seeking pastoral care; the incident has also been a major topic in religious services, many of which have been specifically held because of the incident.

On 9 November 2007, the Finnish government decided to drop objections to the European Union directive on firearms. This will likely mandate a common European minimum age limit of 18 years for gun ownership.[45] After the decision was announced, interior minister Anne Holmlund commented through her aide that it wasn't a direct consequence of the shootings, as the directive had been prepared for a long time and "wouldn't have prevented the events anyway."[46]

On 13 November 2007, the Finnish Government announced that it would set up a "Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Jokela school shooting and events that bear relevance to the incident".[47] The investigation report was released in February 2009.[48]

According to the Finnish Ministry of Justice, a legislative process aimed at establishing an enabling Act covering the Terms of an official Investigative Commission would be finalized by the end of March 2008. The plan is to have a Final Report, covering the Jokela school shooting incident, finalized in one year.[49]

EstoniaPresident Toomas Hendrik Ilves sent a message of condolences on behalf of the Estonian people to President Halonen, saying he had been shocked and saddened by the news.[50]

IcelandPresident Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson sent a message of condolences on behalf of the Icelandic people to Finnish President Tarja Halonen. "On the behalf of me and the Icelandic people, I wish to express our condolences to the Finnish people for the tragic event in Tuusula earlier today."[51]

IrelandPresident Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and a number of Irish schoolchildren expressed their condolences to Finnish President Tarja Halonen on November 12 during Halonen's state visit to the country.[52]

NorwayKing Harald V sent a message of condolences to Finnish President Tarja Halonen. "It is with deep sorrow that I have received the news of the tragic of the Jokela secondary school in Tusby yesterday, which resulted in such a meaningless loss of lives. I send you my heartfelt condolences and my sincerest sympathies to all the bereaved and the Finnish people."[53]

SwedenKing Carl XVI Gustaf expressed his condolences and described the shooting as a horrific affair. "Unfortunately this sort of thing is spreading around the world. That is odd," the king added at a news conference in Luleå. The Swedish TV-channel SVT 2 would also show the movie Elephant the day after the massacre, but they took it off the schedule in respect to Finland. Instead, the movie Swimming Pool was shown.[54]

European UnionPresident of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said in a message to the Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen that he had been "shocked and profoundly saddened to learn about the horrific campus murders."[55]

Copycat threats

In Finland

On November 9, 2007, the Finnish police rushed to three schools due to threats of attacks posted on the Internet. One of the schools was Hyrylä high school in Tuusula and the others in Kirkkonummi and Maaninka.[56] The 16-year-old boy who posted a video titled "Maaninka massacre" on YouTube was arrested on November 11. The suspect has stated that the video was a joke.[57]

Three weeks after the Jokela shootings, the Finnish police, flooded with hoax threats, made a public plea for threats against schools to cease. The police reminded prospective perpetrators of severe judicial consequences as well as of the feelings of the families touched by the Jokela events.[58]

The Kauhajoki school shooting occurred on 23 September 2008, at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences in Kauhajoki, a city in Western Finland. The gunman, 22-year-old culinary arts student Matti Juhani Saari, shot and fatally injured ten people with a semi-automatic pistol, before shooting himself in the head. He died a few hours later in Tampere University Hospital. Finnish police first stated that Saari "very likely" knew Pekka-Eric Auvinen,[59] but in the final investigation no proof of that was found.


In neighbouring Sweden, two boys, aged 16 and 17, were arrested in Stockholm for conspiring to murder their school's principal and janitor.[60] According to the principal, "they had spoken about and glorified Columbine High and what happened in Finland."[61]

See also


External links

  • Auvinen's home videos, originally distributed on YouTube, can now be found on a number of sites: 2
  • Auvinen's media pack (2)
  • The media pack as it was originally distributed (zip)
  • Official school website
  • Material produced by the shooter
  • Crime scene photos (in Finnish)
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