25 Sep 2008

National day of mourning in Finland

5:03 pm on 25 September 2008

Flags are flying at half-mast across Finland in a day of national mourning for the victims of a shooting in western Finland.

Matti Saari, 22, shot and killed 10 people - including eight female students and a male student - on Tuesday at a vocational school in Kauhajoki and then turned the gun on himself.

He had earlier been questioned by police for posting a video on You-Tube firing a gun.

All but one victim were so badly burned in fires set by Saari that police said they would have to rely on DNA testing and dental records for final identification of the bodies.

It was the second school shooting in Finland in less than a year.

The National Bureau of Investigation told a news conference on Wednesday that there was a note found at the killer's home saying: 'I have always wanted to murder as many people as possible'.

A bureau officer said later that Saari was probably also in touch with Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, who killed eight people last November in Jokela, southern Finland, after broadcasting his intent in a YouTube video clip.

Police said Saari bought his gun in Jokela.

On the web, Saari listed two favourite videos about the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were killed in April 1999.