The attacker who killed his former girlfriend and four other people during a shooting rampage in Finland on New Year’s Eve day apparently chose his victims and did not fire at random, police said.
Chief investigator Esa Gronlund of the National Bureau of Investigation told reporters on Friday that a preliminary investigation has indicated that Ibrahim Shkupolli’s method of shooting the five Finns, most of them at a shopping mall in the town of Espoo, suggest that he had planned Thursday’s slayings, though the investigator declined to provide details.
The 43-year-old Shkupolli, an ethnic Albanian immigrant from Kosovo, committed suicide after the attack.
Investigator Henrik Niklander said police are examining the relationship between Shkupolli and the people he gunned down in Espoo, which is a few kilometers outside the Finnish capital, Helsinki.
“The fact all victims were employees of the [same] Prisma store seems to indicate that we’re not dealing with a coincidence,” Niklander said.
Previously police had been reluctant to speculate whether the killer fired his handgun randomly in the Sello mall in Espoo, Finland’s second biggest city, or if he had chosen his victims.
Four of those slain — three men and one woman — were working in the Prisma grocery store when they were shot. The fifth victim — Shkupolli’s former Finnish girlfriend — had been an employee at the same store, though she was found dead in a nearby apartment. She had won a restraining order against Shkupolli, who allegedly had stalked her for years.
After killing his victims, Shkupolli returned home and committed suicide. Police found his body after launching a citywide manhunt.
Shkupolli arrived in Finland in 1992, the Interior Ministry said.
He applied for Finnish citizenship but was rejected because of his criminal past, which included assault, traffic violations and an arrest in 2003 for carrying an unlicensed gun.
During Thursday’s rampage, Shkupolli used an unlicensed handgun, a fact that has stirred intense debate in the Nordic country after two deadly school shooting over the past two years. Finland has a long tradition of hunting and ranks among the top five countries in the world regarding civilian gun ownership. The country of 5.3 million people has 1.6 million firearms in private hands.
In a condolence message, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen noted the large number handguns in Finland and said the probe into Thursday’s shooting would “focus on the unlicensed gun and how the shooter obtained it.”
In September 2008, a lone gunman killed nine fellow students and a teacher at a vocational college before shooting himself to death in the western town of Kauhajoki.
In November 2007, an 18-year-old student fatally shot eight people and himself at a high school in southern Finland.
Finland’s 5,000 Kosovar Albanians have expressed concern that Shkupolli’s rampage will increase public anger against foreigners during a debate now taking place among lawmakers and the media regarding immigration and the social benefits immigrants receive and their overall status in the Nordic country.
Driton Nushi, a Kosovar Albanian community leader in Finland, said he hoped the public won’t misunderstand the crime.
“Do they take it as an individual case or do they think wrongly — as some of them already do — that all the foreigners are behind this?” Nushi said in an interview.
“It’s only an individual, a family case, a crime of passion. Nothing else, nothing more,” Nushi said.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete