Teacher Killed in Viljandi School Shooting; 9th Grader in Custody (14)
In a tragedy with many echoes elsewhere, a teacher at a school in Viljandi was fatally shot by a student today.
The student, aged 15, has been apprehended by the police. Police has confirmed that all the children are safe and have now been returned to their parents. Police combed through the school as a precautionary measure but found nothing suspicious.
A spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office said the shooting took place at 13:55 at the Viljandi Paalalinna School.
The victim was a teacher of German, Ene Sarap, 56, who was Viljandi County's teacher of the year in 2007. She was shot multiple times, said police.
There were four more pupils in the classroom at the time of the shooting, none of whom were hurt.
The suspect did not resist arrest. The gun was confiscated by the school's staff and handed over to the police. Police investigation will determine the motive for the attack and the origin of the gun.
Minister of Education Jevgeni Ossinovski said that he has been in touch with the school's principal and has offered him his sympathy and support. Ossinovski will also shortly meet with the Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur to discuss the incident.
He added: "Thorough investigation will establish the circumstances of the shooting but today we must support the school, which is understandably in shock, in every way we can."
The minister is on his way to Viljandi now.
Principal: Shooter was a good student
Police say they will not disclose the name of the suspect, as he is a minor. The name of the student has been widely circulated on social media due to the presence of a largely public Facebook page.
The principal of the school, Aavo Palo, said during a press conference that there was no panic after the shooting. He was asked to come to the classroom, the shooter was sitting and had placed the gun on the table, he made no attempt to escape. The conflict appears to have been strictly between the shooter and the victim, no one else was targeted and the rest of the students were allowed to leave the classroom.
The principal removed the gun, called the police and together they evacuated the pupils.
The school will do its utmost to counsel the staff and students; the lessons will resume tomorrow. Those in the classroom during the shooting are been looked after by specialists.
Palo said the suspect had no behavioral problems and he was a good student, he had good communication skills and was not a "loner."
President: This is a national tragedy
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said: "This incident is not just a tragedy for one school or one town. It is a national tragedy. We all grieve and we are all in shock."
Ilves also called for greater understanding and support.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur have also sent their condolences to the school and the victim's family.
"Today's shooting in Viljandi that has costs a teacher her life is a shock to us all. Estonia will have Viljandi in its thoughts tonight," said the prime minister.
"We are yet to learn the reasons behind this incident but violence is never an acceptable solution. Things like this simply cannot happen. We all have the duty to notice the person next to us who needs our help. Today's incident is a painful reminder of this fact. I offer my deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased teacher and to the school."
Hanno Pevkur added: "Although the suspect, a pupil at the same school, has been apprehended and no more lives are in immediate danger, this does not bring back the life we lost today or our sense of security. There should be no place for violence in our society, especially in our schools."