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Four killed in shopping centre shooting, fifth body found

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-12-31

Four people were killed in a shooting at the Sello Shopping Centre in the Finnish city of Espoo on Thursday. Police sources say a fifth body was also found and that a 43-year-old suspect is known to the authorities.

Four people were killed in a shooting at the Sello Shopping Centre in the Finnish city of Espoo on Thursday as police sources told FRANCE 24 they were searching for those responsible.

Police commissioner Jyrkky Kallio told AFP that police are searching for a 43-year-old suspect who is known to the authorities.

"We do not know where the shooter is, but we know who he is," Kallio said.

A police statement identified the suspect as Ibrahim Shkupolli and said the shopping centre victims were three men and a woman.

Finland’s national broadcaster YLE reported that the first shots were fired at about 9:20 a.m. Paris time (GMT+1), prompting parts of the mall to be evacuated.

Kallio said a fifth body, of a woman, was found in an Espoo house and that police believe the suspect killed her. An unconfirmed report in Finland's Helsingin Sanomat news daily identified the woman as Shkupolli's ex-wife.

Click on this link Espoo, Finland for a larger map

History of gun violence

The incident is the third fatal shooting spree in the past three years in Finland, including two high-profile school shootings. In 2007, nine people died when a gunman opened fire at a school before turning the gun on himself. In September 2008, 11 people including the shooter were killed in a similar incident.

Some observers have attributed such incidents to the fact that the country has the world’s third-largest gun ownership rate.

“Finland has had two big wakeup calls in the past two or three years,” says FRANCE 24 correspondent Marcus Karlsson. He says events like these have reopened the debate over gun ownership and put pressure on the government to take action, although with dubious results.

“They have taken some measures to crack down on gun crime but perhaps it hasn’t been enough,” Karlsson says.

Date created : 2009-12-31