Finnish shooting spree ends in suicide; six dead (Lead)December 31st, 2009 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS
Helsinki, Dec 31 (DPA) A shooting spree that left five people dead in the Finnish city of Espoo appeared to end Thursday after police found the body of the man believed to be the shooter, an apparent suicide.
Officials reported the discovery of the body of Kosovo-born Ibrahim Shukpoli, 43, hours after the New Year’s Eve shooting horrified the city, which neighbours Helsinki. Shukpoli, who has a criminal record, appeared to have shot himself.
The body of Shukpoli’s ex-wife had been found earlier in the day, following a rampage by a gunman, alleged to be Shukpoli, in a Finnish shopping centre that left an additional four people dead.
Police had earlier launched a major hunt for the gunman, sealing off parts of the city and calling in a helicopter to hunt for the man. They also shut down and cordoned off the shopping centre and sealed the nearby Leppavaara train station.
Witnesses said the gunman, dressed in black, emptied an automatic pistol, causing panic in the Sello shopping centre where his ex-wife was employed.
Witnesses said the gunman first opened fire in the electronics department of the Prisma supermarket, where he killed an employee with two shots to the head. He then fired shots in the meat department before fleeing, leaving panic and disorder in his wake as shoppers and employees tried to flee.
Authorities searching for the gunman initially went to Shukpoli’s ex-wife’s apartment, where they found her dead as well. It remains unclear if she was shot before or after the attack in the shopping centre.
Police said jealousy played a possible role in the attack. Shukpoli had been convicted of abusing his ex-wife and had been given a restraining order. The city of Espoo, which has a population of around 250,000, is the headquarters of mobile phone maker Nokia.
Finland has suffered two major school shootings and a bombing in recent years.
In September 2008 a student opened fire in a vocational school, killing nine classmates and a teacher. The 22-year-old then shot and killed himself.
In late 2007 an 18-year-old student killed six fellow students, a nurse, and the headmaster, before shooting himself in the head.
After the most recent shooting, the Finnish government adopted tougher gun laws.
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Tags: apparent suicide, automatic pistol, criminal record, electronics department, finnish city, gunman, jealousy, kosovo, meat department, mobile phone maker, neighbours, nokia finland, rampage, restraining order, school shootings, shooting spree, shopping centre, train station, two shots, vocational school