Finland sword attacker acted alone, motive still unknown

Helsinki (AFP) –


The man suspected of carrying out a deadly sword attack at a Finnish vocational college acted alone, police said on Wednesday, as they continued to search for a motive behind the rampage.

One woman died and 10 people were injured, including the suspect, on Tuesday when a student at Savo Vocational College in Kuopio, east-central Finland, attacked his teacher and classmates with a "sabre-type bladed weapon", according to police and eyewitnesses.

Officers shot the suspect twice, injuring him seriously. A woman was found dead at the scene, police said.

"The police's current view is that the suspect acted alone with no organised crime involvement, for instance," detective chief inspector Olli Toyras of the National Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Police have yet to question the suspect, who remains in intensive care.

"It's our main priority to interview him," deputy chief inspector Jarkko Timonen told AFP.

A search of the suspect's residence on Tuesday revealed equipment for making incendiary devices, police said.

Although Finnish law forbids police from identifying a suspect before trial, media outlets named the the man as 25-year-old Joel Otto Aukusti Marin.

Public broadcaster Yle said a police source confirmed that Marin was the suspect.

Neighbours at Marin's student residence described him as a "quiet and closed" man with long, blonde hair, according to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

"I asked him if we have a problem, as we never speak," one unnamed neighbour told the paper.

"He replied that he's a very shy person," the neighbour said.

- Victims mainly women -

Kuopio University Hospital said most of the injured were women. The victims were aged 15-50.

Six patients remained in hospital on Wednesday, two in intensive care in a serious but stable condition, authorities said.

Meanwhile more witness reports emerged of the attack, with an unnamed female classmate describing the attacker as a "smart nerd".

On Tuesday he entered class carrying a long bag, she told the newspaper Iltalehti.

"He pulled a sword out of it, which didn't even look real. He lifted it up and hit the teacher," injuring her hand.

The teacher ran into the back room with the attacker chasing her, as the students began to panic.

"Some just fled. But the situation didn't sink in for everyone," she said. "Then he started swinging the sword at the students too."