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Finnish teen gunman on trial after being declared sane

An 18-year-old who killed two people and injured seven others in a random shooting spree went on trial today in a Finnish district court.

AN 18-YEAR-OLD Finn who killed two people and injured seven others in a random shooting spree went on trial in a Finnish district court Tuesday, after the authorities declared him fit to stand trial.

The charges against Eero Hiltunen included two counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and 32 counts of public endangerment, according to the prosecutor’s office.

In May last year, Hiltunen opened fire from a rooftop in the town of Hyvinkaeae, a city of 45,000 people about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Helsinki, aiming at two nearby pubs in front of which young people had gathered.

He has admitted to the attack, but without providing any motive, saying he shot at people at random.

An 18-year-old woman was killed on the spot while a 19-year-old man later died from his injuries. Both were students at a local technical college.

A 23-year-old policewoman who was injured in the attack remains in hospital, public broadcaster Yle reported on its website.

“Both killings and all the attempted killings have taken place with strong malice,” prosecutor Eeva-Liisa Olkinuora said in the indictment, according to TV channel MTV3.

“In the course of his actions, Hiltunen had time to think about his deeds,” she added.

Finland has in recent years been hit by several cases of deadly shootings by teenagers.

On September 23, 2008, a student who went on a murderous rampage at a school in Kauhajoki in the southwest killed 10 people before turning his gun on himself.

In a similar incident on November 7, 2007 at Jokela, not far from Hyvinkaeae, an 18-year-old killed seven classmates and the headmistress then shot himself in the head.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Finland: Gunman kills 1, injures 8, in ‘random’ shooting

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