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The Sello mall shooting
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Shooting rampage
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: December 31, 2009
Date of birth: 1966
Victims profile: His former girlfriend and four of her co-workers
Method of murder: Shooting (9mm CZ 75 pistol)
Location: Leppävaara district of Espoo, Finland
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day

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The Sello mall shooting occurred on the morning of 31 December 2009 shortly after 10:08 local time at the Sello Prisma supermarket in Leppävaara district of Espoo, Finland. The shooting was believed to have been started after Ibrahim Shkupolli, the alleged gunman, found that his ex-girlfriend had a lover at the grocery store where she worked. Shkupolli first killed her in her apartment before heading towards the mall.

The Sello mall, which opened in 2005, is one of the largest in the Nordic region with over 170 stores. On the day of the shooting the mall contained between two and three thousand customers. Witnesses described the gunman as calm when walking out of the grocery store in the mall immediately after the shooting.


The shooting began when the gunman entered the Prisma supermarket and began firing with a 9mm handgun. Preliminary reports indicated four fatalities at the mall, three men and one woman. The victims, aged 27, 40, 42 and 45, were employees of Prisma.

Another woman, identified as the suspect's ex-girlfriend, was found dead in an Espoo apartment in connection with the case. The ex-girlfriend was also an employee of Prisma, and the Finnish police speculated that she was the main target. It is alleged that Shkupolli killed his former girlfriend first in the apartment, and after moved on to kill her boyfriend at the shopping mall where they both worked. It is believed that her lover is one of the four victims, and that he had been shot twice in the head.

The suspect, identified as 43 year old Ibrahim Shkupolli, was seen walking into another shop where he disappeared, sparking a major manhunt which involved police helicopters. Later that day, Shkupolli was found dead in an apartment in Kirstinmäki, Espoo, in an apparent suicide.

His apartment was completely empty except for a mattress, framed photo of his ex-girlfriend and 14 fully loaded magazines for his gun and a bag containing additional 273 cartridges. According to a neighbour who heard the gunshot, Shkupolli had shot himself at 11:13. The Finnish police evacuated and cordoned off the shopping centre, and blocked off a nearby railway station. Emergency services arrived on the scene including dozens of ambulances and several fire engines.

The gun used was a Czechoslovakian made 9mm CZ 75 pistol, manufactured in 1984 and was originally sold in Norway where the gun went missing due to an unsolved burglary case in 1990. How it ended to Shkupolli remains unknown. The first victim, the woman found in the apartment, was killed with a Smith & Wesson branded hunting knife. The body had a long and deep incised wound reaching the cervical spine. The apartment had no signs of struggle.


The shooter, grocer Ibrahim Shkupolli (1966 – 31 December 2009) was born in Kosovska Mitrovica, SFR Yugoslavia, and had resided in Finland since 1990. He entered Finland through Norway in 1990.

Shkupolli worked in a warehousing company that delivered to the Prisma supermarket chain. Shkupolli had been married to a Kosovo Albanian woman with whom he had three children but maintained an on-off relationship with his Finnish girlfriend both before and after the marriage.

In both of his former and present municipalities of residence, Mikkeli and Espoo, restraining orders had been imposed on him after his girlfriend filed charges about his behavior and numerous threats, including one to kill her. The order imposed by the court barred him from approaching both her and her job location. It is thought that he believed she had begun a relationship with one of the supermarket staff, and that this was the motive for his crimes.

He had been convicted of assault in 2001 and possession of a 7.65 mm hand gun and associated rounds of ammunition in 2003 and 9 x 18 mm cartridges in 2007 as well as possession of narcotics. He was also under investigation for being involved in a human trafficking ring that organizes illegal immigration from the Balkans to Finland. These and other offenses including unlawful threats and traffic violations had led the Finnish Immigration Service to reject his application for Finnish citizenship.

His motives may have been a mixture of a grudge with his former employer Prisma, and the fact that he believed that his girlfriend had started a new relationship with a Prisma employee after breaking up with Shkupolli.


Gunman's body found after Finland shooting

December 31, 2009

Finnish police have confirmed they have found the body of a gunman responsible for killing five people in a shooting rampage in the southern city of Espoo.

Investigators said 43-year-old Ibrahim Shkupolli shot dead three men and a woman with a 9mm pistol at a grocery shop inside the Sello shopping centre.

The body of Shkupolli's ex-girlfriend, who also worked at the shop, was later found at a flat in the city.

The incident is Finland's third major shooting in the past two years.

Police were first notified about the shooting inside the Prisma grocery store at 1008 local time (0808 GMT) on Thursday.

A witness told Finland's state broadcaster, YLE, that the gunman was dressed in black and appeared to have opened fire at random, hitting one man in the head and a woman in the stomach.

The victims were Prisma employees aged 27, 40, 42 and 45. Two were shot on the shop's first floor, the other two on its second floor, police said.

Another witness said chaos had ensued after the first shots were heard.

"There were loads of people who were crying, and many salespeople who were completely panicked," the witness told Finnish radio.

The gunman was later seen walking towards another shop. He then disappeared, sparking a major manhunt. The shopping centre was evacuated and cordoned off by armed police, and trains were not allowed to stop at the nearby Leppavaara railway station.

'Domestic' motive

At a later news conference, police announced a Prisma employee had also been found dead at her flat in the outskirts of the city. It later emerged that the victim was Shkupolli's ex-girlfriend.

Investigators said they believed her killing had a "domestic" motive, and that there had been a restraining order in place.

"The four victims in the shopping centre were, in a way, outsiders. It looks like the incident is linked to the fifth victim," Chief Inspector Jukka Kaski told a news conference.

"She seems to have been the gunman's main target and the whole shooting is tied up with the relationship between her and the gunman," he added.

Shkupolli then returned to his own home and turned the gun on himself, police said.

Shkupolli was an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo who moved to Finland in 1990, shortly after which he began a relationship with the woman found dead on Thursday, according to Finnish media reports.

Their relationship broke down for the final time last year, when she told police he had threatened to kill her. A restraining order against him was later granted by a local court.

Shkupolli, who worked for a warehousing company organising deliveries to the Prisma shop, was reportedly also married to a woman of Albanian descent, with whom he had a family.

He had a previous conviction for causing bodily harm and had twice been fined for illegal possession of a handgun, in 2003 and 2007, according to YLE.

Gun laws tightened

There is a long tradition of hunting in Finland, which has vast areas of forest and wilderness, but until recently gun crime has been rare.

But two deadly shootings in recent years focused attention on gun laws in a country where young people were permitted to own and use a firearm at 15 years of age if they had parental consent.

In November 2007, an 18-year-old went on a gun rampage at his school in Tuusula, killing seven pupils and a teacher, before turning the gun on himself. He had posted a video warning of the attack on the internet.

Then, in September 2008, a 22-year-old trainee chef killed 10 people at a college before killing himself.

He, too, had put a video on the internet showing himself shooting a gun. After doing that he was interviewed by police, but they decided it was not sufficient reason to revoke his gun licence.

After the second attack, stricter rules on permits for pistols and revolvers were introduced.

Handgun permits would no longer be granted to first-time applicants, the interior ministry said.

Instead, they must train for at least a year at a gun club before being allowed to apply for a permit.

All applicants must also provide a note from a doctor about their mental health and sit an interview with police.


Profile: Finland gunman

December 31, 2009

Ibrahim Shkupolli, 43, who is accused of killing five people and then himself in a shooting rampage in the southern Finnish city of Espoo, had a chequered love life and a history of run-ins with the police.

His final act of violence was the culmination of series of confrontations with a former girlfriend.

He first dated the Finnish woman, who has not yet been named, soon after his arrival in Finland in 1990.

An ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, he had left as Yugoslavia began to break apart, but it is not clear why.

His relationship with the woman lasted for 18 years, but it was not a monogamous one.

Shkupolli was also married to a woman of Albanian background, with whom he had a family, according to Finnish media reports.

It would appear he married her after coming to Finland - and after meeting the Finnish woman, with whom he maintained a relationship throughout.

That relationship broke down for the final time last year. She went to police to complain about his behaviour and the numerous threats he had made, including one to kill her.

A court imposed a restraining order, not only preventing him from approaching her, but also the place where she worked - the Prisma grocery store in the Sello shopping centre in Espoo.

This is the same shop where, on 31 December, dressed in black, he started firing at employees.

After killing four people at the shopping centre he fled. It seems Shkupolli then killed his former girlfriend at her flat on the outskirts of the city.

Police eventually found him at his own flat, where he had apparently killed himself.

Shkupolli had a previous conviction for causing bodily harm and had twice been fined for illegal possession of a handgun, in 2003 and 2007, the Finnish state broadcaster YLE reported. He was also facing several new charges.

He had a job, in a warehousing company, organising deliveries to the Prisma shop.

But his employer did not notice anything out of the usual in his behaviour prior to the shootings, according to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.



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