Cop killings are rare in Finland.
During the nation’s independence, 130 police officers have been killed in the line of duty, 2 this millennium.
But late on Friday evening an officer, a member of the tactical special forces, got killed on duty while trying to arrest a deranged man, 67, armed with an assault rifle in Vihti, in Southern Finland, about 50 kilometeres from Helsinki.
Another officer got seriously injured in the course of action. The deceased and injured officers wore bulletproof vests and were covered with helmets and shields but the armor was not strong enough to stop a bullet from an effective military gun.
Later, the man was found inside the house. Dead. Apparently, he had shot himself.
The incident started when the police received a call at 21:00 that the man was shooting at his adult nephew driving a tractor. The nephew was not injured.
The suspect had disappeared from the scene. The police started a massive search. Calls were made with no contact.
Two hours later, the law enforcement had tracked the man to a house. The house was unlit and the man’s wife was inside.
At 23:30 the special squad started moving toward the building. It was pouring rain and the yard was filled with trash, including corpses of cars and trailers. That’s when the man started firing with the assault rifle, and the bullets hit the two officers.
The man in question was known by the locals as a “hothead.” He had a restraining order against his nephew, a neighbor, who was involved in disputes with the man, for example of building permits and the tidiness of the man’s yard, which according to the nephew “was a waste dump.”
The man had broken the law against his nephew several times before. Illegal guns had been confined. Breaking of the restraining order, harassing and illegal threats were commonplace in the man’s criminal record.
He had no permits for any firearm.
Government officials, including the prime minister and the president, have expressed their condolences to the deceased police officer.
“This is a shocking tragedy. I express my deepest condolences to the relatives of the deceased police officer, his closed ones, and to the work community. I respect the profession of the police deeply. They risk their lives to protect our society,” said Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.
President Niinistö said that the deed “shocks us all.”
“I present my deepest condolences and support for the relatives of the deceased and injured police officers and the fellow workers. The officers who were killed, like any Finnish police officer, have with their own everyday work made sure that Finland is one of the most secure countries in the world. That’s why violence against the police is violence against the whole Finnish society,” President Niinistö said.
On Saturday evening, the cover picture of the Facebook page of Western Uusimaa Police Department was black.
“The police department of Western Uusimaa is grieving the loss of an appreciated and well-liked colleague. He was a great man, who we will miss dearly,” said a message on the page.
The injured officer is in stable condition and is expected to recover well.
Sources: The police, MTV, HS, STT, The Office of the President of the Republic of Finland, The Finnish Government