- The attack was carried out in the southeastern town of Imatra
- Officials believe the attack was random as no motive has been identified
- A 23-year-old local man has been arrested by police and did not resist
#BREAKING Local mayor, two journalists shot dead in Finland: police
@AFP did they go to no-go zone?
— Timothy Tan (@Wolf_InTheWilds) 4 December 2016
The head of a city council and two local journalists have been identified as the three women who were killed by a sniper outside a restaurant in a small Finnish town.
Police confirmed a 23-year-old local man has been detained following what is believed to be a random attack.
The victims were gunned down in a pedestrian area outside the 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.