Attack on Finnish College Campus

Daily Star

Jessica Kennedy, Staff Writer |

On Oct. 1, a student of the Savo Vocational College in Kuopio, Finland went to school with the intent to attack teachers and classmates. Witnesses reported Joel Marin entering the Herman Shopping Center, where the college is located, with a large bag containing multiple weapons, including a sword, gun, and explosives. 

It is believed the student set a small fire before entering the building, which was quickly put out by first responders and caused minor damage to the building. Witnesses say Marin then went into a classroom mid-lecture, pulled a sword from his bag, and attacked the teacher. He also stabbed an unnamed Ukrainian citizen in the neck and stomach, resulting in her death. Marin went on to cut and slash nine other students who were rushed to the campus’ hospital. Antti Hedman, the hospital’s chief doctor, reported that two of the victims were more seriously injured while the rest had minor self-defense wounds.

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Though the names and ages of the victims have not been released, the hospital reported that more than half of those attacked were female, and the victims ranged from ages 15 to 50. The police have yet to find out and announce Marin’s motives for the attack and if he specifically targeted females or if it was an unfortunate coincidence that these victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A Finland police department officer said the background check of the suspect did not explicitly show any intent for specific targets, but the attacker had bombs and other arsonist equipment in his home. 

Marin’s apprehension happened eight minutes after the first call to emergency services. With the help of other students, who threw chairs at the attacker while he went after their teacher, a law enforcement officer shot Marin twice in the leg to stop the attacks. Marin and his victims were brought to the hospital and treated for their wounds. In an Iltalehti interview after the Finland attacks, researcher and author Harri Gustafsberg told the most important factors for police officers to have. “The most important skills are stress management, pressure tolerance and teamwork skills. These are related to the fact that work is sometimes dangerous and demanding. The characteristics should, in principle, be good, so that they can be developed as far as possible.” With the police possessing these skills, Finnish natives expressed their gratitude in response to this interview that no one else was hurt.

As a relatively safe country statistically, Finland is wounded by this attack and a school shooting that happened not much earlier. Students of the Savo Vocational School have created memorials on the nearly deserted campus with flowers, candles, and cards, praying for the speedy recovery of the injured and justice for the deceased. The Finnish media is also desperate to find answers for this cruel act by harassing innocent family members of Marin to get statements and interviews.

With the assailant in the hospital after his apprehension, his trial had to be done through video call, linking the courtroom and the hospital bed. Information of the trial has not yet been released, providing no answers to Marin’s motives or future.

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