Finland School Shooting’s Motive Was Bullying, Police Say

The 12-year-old boy who opened fire at his school in Finland on Tuesday, killing a schoolmate and injuring two others, has offered an explanation for the shooting: He was bullied.

The police said the motive emerged during interviews with the student, who had transferred to his school, north of Helsinki, at the beginning of the calendar year. After the shooting, the police said, the boy also threatened students heading to another school.

The boy, who cannot be criminally charged because of his age, was placed in the custody of social welfare authorities, the police said.

“This incident is deeply upsetting,” Finland’s education minister, Anna-Maja Henriksson, said in an interview on Wednesday. “We have to do more in the society to prevent bullying.”

A number of public officials said it was too early to know exactly what set off the shooting, which resulted in the death of another 12-year-old boy and injuries to two girls of the same age. But many joined in calling for more concerted efforts to address mental health problems among young people, and to combat school bullying.

In the Finnish news media, one editorial called for “an iron grip on the sickness of children and young people,” and others demanded more assurances from the authorities about school safety. The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published guidelines to report bullying, because “the responsibility always lies with adults.”

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