A gunman who killed four people in a crowded Finnish shopping mall was still on the loose today.
Ibrahim Shkupolli ,43, apparently shot dead his ex-wife in a nearby apartment before heading to the Sello mall in Espoo dressed all in black.
As shoppers fled in terror he shot one woman and three men at random.
One witness told state broadcaster Yle that the gunman opened fire on the second floor of the mall, one of the Nordic region’s largest. Another said chaos ensued as the shooting began.
“There were loads of people who were crying, and many vendors who were completely panicked,” he said.
Another woman said she saw the suspect carrying a long-barrelled pistol and rushing past the check-out queue at Sello’s Prisma supermarket where the killings took place.
Finland, a nation of 5.3 million, has 1.6 million firearms in private hands, a long tradition of hunting and ranks among the top five nations in the world in civilian gun ownership.
Politicians, social workers and religious leaders have all urged tighter gun laws, more vigilance of internet sites, and more social bonding in a country known for its high suicide rates, heavy drinking and domestic violence.
Previous shootings in Finland have been linked to schools. In September 2008, a lone gunman killed nine fellow students and a teacher at a vocational college before shooting himself 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.
Both young men in those attacks fired guns in YouTube clips posted before the shootings, shot themselves in the head and used .22-calibre handguns bought from the same store.