HELSINKI: A gunman killed three women in an apparent random shooting in a nightlife district in a small town in southeastern Finland, police said Sunday. A 23-year-old local man has been detained.
The victims were gunned down in a pedestrian area outside a restaurant late Saturday in the town of Imatra just before a police patrol car arrived to the scene around midnight, police spokeswoman Heli Jamsen-Turkki said.
The suspect obeyed officers and didn't resist arrest, she said. The three victims were shot multiple times in the head and torso with a rifle. There was no known motive and police were unaware of any other possible victims. No other details were immediately available.
Imatra, which has 28,000 inhabitants, is about 230 kilometers (140 miles) east of the capital, Helsinki.
"We decided to open a crisis center after the shooting occurred right in the middle of the town near restaurants and nightclubs," said Saara Raudasoja, a spokeswoman for the South Karelia Social and Health Care District. "There were people there when it happened. In such a small place, it's quite a huge incident and many people were shocked."
In Finland, a country of 5.4 million people with strong hunting traditions, there are 650,000 officially recognized gun owners although homicides with guns are unusual. But after two fatal school shootings early this decade, gun laws have been tightened.