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Imatra a town of 27,578 inhabitants, is located in the eastern Finland, in South Karelia region.

A man, 23, stopped his car in front of a local bar, Vuoksenvahti, in Imatra around midnight on Saturday. A group of three women – the chair of Imatra City Council and two journalists from the local paper, who had arrived back to Imatra from a theater trip in Helsinki, – were walking out from the bar. The man pulled out a hunting rifle from the trunk. He shot the women in the head and torso from close range. After four to five shots the women laid dead in the street. The man went back to sit in his car. Waiting for the police.

A police patrol, which was only 300 meters away from the scene, arrived quickly. The bystanders pointed out the shooter. The suspect followed police orders and was apprehended by the police without resisting or trying to escape. The man, a resident of Imatra, is suspected of three counts of murder.

The motive of the suspect is still unclear. The hunting rifle had a permit, but it did not belong to the suspect. The suspect appears to have picked his victims at random. Apparently, he did not know the women. The police have neither found any support for possible political or extreme ideologist motives.

The suspect, however, has a criminal record. In 2013, he was convicted to prison for an attempted manslaughter. He had stabbed his victim, a man, at least once in the neck, twice in the chest and four times in the back. The backstabbing occurred when the victim tried to escape. He was convicted to prison for three years and two months.

In 2014, the man was convicted of aggravated drunken driving for 60 days in community service. He was driving under the influence of clonazepam, a medication used to treat seizures and panic disorder but commonly used as a recreational drug.

The suspect has a criminal record. In 2013, he had stabbed his victim, a man, at least once in the neck, twice in the chest and four times in the back.
Memorial candles stand in front of Vuoksenvahti bar on Sunday, December 4. A screen capture from Vuoksenvahti's Facebook page. Picture: Minttu Salonen

Memorial candles stand in front of Vuoksenvahti bar on Sunday, December 4. A screen capture from Vuoksenvahti’s Facebook page. Picture: Minttu Salonen

On Sunday, the residents of Imatra were in shock. A local woman, Salli, was observing the crime scene in the morning. “I feel like crying all the time. My thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. I can’t imagine how much they must be grieving at home,” she said.

One of the victims, the chair of the Imatra City Council, Tiina Wilen-Jäppinen, 53, is survived by a husband and two children. A friend described her as “one who liked to push Imatra forward.” “She was liked and was an extrovert.”

The other victim, Anne, 52, a spouse and mother of two children and a journalist in the local paper, was, according to her colleague, one who liked to enjoy life. “Anne liked funky music and the pleasures of life. Nobody could have believed that a pleasant theater trip and a get-together would be the last enjoyments of her life.”

The third victim, Katri, a spouse and a mother of three and a colleague of Anne, was described as one who “brought the sunshine with her to the meetings of the editors.”

Another colleague had after the theater trip hugged her and Anne. On Sunday, after hearing the sad news, she said, “You never know, which one of the hugs will be the last.”

Additional source: The Police

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