Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Finnish police detain teen after massacre threat

YOUTUBE COPYCAT Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen described Wednesday's Jokela killings as an extreme case of a problem that was in no way unique to Finland


Finnish police have detained a teenage boy who allegedly posted a video on YouTube threatening a massacre similar to the one that occurred last week at a high school in Finland.

The 16-year-old was arrested on Friday in Maaninka, some 400km north of Helsinki, and questioned the following day, a police spokesman said. Authorities also seized his computer.

Titled "Maaninka massacre," the video is about 30 seconds long and shows the teenager's "school and a person with a weapon in hand," the spokesman said.


He said the teen had told police "it was a joke, that he had no intention" of carrying out the massacre. The suspect remains under investigation, although police have not said whether he was still in custody.

Eight people, including five teenage boys, the headmistress, a female nurse and a single mother, were killed in last Wednesday's shooting at Jokela high school in southern Finland.

The shooter, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, also shot himself and later died of his injuries.

Finns paid tribute to the victims in church services nationwide on Sunday. A mass at a church in Tuusula, the city of 35,000 where the tragedy occurred last week, was broadcast live on public television.

Police said Auvinen had posted a video threat on YouTube, a video-sharing Web site, two days before the shooting spree.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen called on Sunday for greater international cooperation to monitor information on the Internet in the wake of the tragedy.


"We need to solve the question [of cooperation], see if there's something that can be done on an international scale, how officials can find messages for example on the basis of a password," he told Yle radio. "The most important thing is the balance between control and freedom."

The shooting left Finland on edge, with police on Friday briefly surrounding two other schools after Internet threats of further attacks.

Vanhanen described the Jokela killings as "an extreme case" of a problem that was not unique to Finland and appeared skeptical about stepping up security in Finnish schools.

"The idea of armed guards is very strange for Finland," he said.


Finnish investigators have been looking into an Internet page that Auvinen subscribed to, thought to belong to a youth arrested in the US for allegedly planning a school massacre.

Auvinen also posted other videos under a pseudonym paying tribute to, among others, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 12 schoolmates at Columbine High School in the US in 1999.

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