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Police officer deaths in Finland (updated)

June 21, 2016

Last week on June 17, a police officer was killed in a confrontation with an armed man in Vihti. The suspect (who was later found dead on the property of a suspected suicide), was known to police and opened fire on the two reporting police officers without warning. The second officer was wounded seriously, but is said to be recovering well from his injuries. Four other officers were also caught up in the confrontation but did not suffer any injuries.

The death of the 30 year-old officer is the first since 2007, when a 20 year-old drunk driver ran down an officer in Kälviä in central Pohjanmaa. The offender was sentenced to five years in prison.

One of the most infamous police killings in Finland was in 1997. Danish criminal Steen Christensen gunned down two officers in Helsinki after robbing the Palace hotel. He was convicted and sentenced in Finland, and was later sent back to Denmark to serve out the rest of his sentence. Apparently he is still behind bars.

In March 1969 four police officers were killed in Pihtipudas when Tauno Pasanen opened fire on them. Pasanen was pardoned by President Mauno Koivisto in 1982. In 1996 Pasanen was convicted for the killing of his former wife. He was freed from jail in 2000.

Dozens of other officers lost their lives in Finland, more than 130 in fact, but a great many of those people were killed during the wars.

As the relative and friend of police officers in both Canada and Finland, I urge people to respect the dangerous work police officers do every single day. A man did not make it home last Friday and that is sad indeed.

RIP to the fallen officer, Tomi Keskinen*, and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

With information from the June 19 and 21, 2016 edition of Helsingin Sanomat and Wikipedia.

*Updated on June 22 to include the deceased officer’s name with information from Iltalehti.

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