Police investigators at the area were three people were killed in a shooting incident at a restaurant in Imatra, Eastern Finland
Police investigators at the area where three people were shot dead outside a restaurant in Imatra, Finland Reuters

A 23-year-old man who shot and killed three women with a hunting rifle in southeastern Finland was probably mentally ill, police officials have confirmed.

A local politician and two journalists were shot and killed in front of a restaurant in the town of Imatra on Saturday (3 December).

The local man was arrested at the scene and the motive for the killings remain unclear, with preliminary investigations suggesting he chose his victims at random.

In a statement, the Southeastern Police Department said: "At the moment, the police believes it is likely that the reasons behind the incident were mainly related to becoming marginalised, as well as mental health."

According to police, the alleged killer drove to the restaurant and shot the three women randomly as they left the building. The victims died instantly.

CCTV footage indicates he had not watched the restaurant prior to the attack, but simply arrived and started firing as the women were leaving.

The local politician shot dead was named as Tiina Wilen-Jappinen, the chairwoman of Imatra's town council. She had represented the Social Democratic Party on the city council since 2001, according to local media.

The 23-year-old man did not resist arrest but accompanied officers peacefully and without speaking to the police station. Etela Saimaa, the local media outlet, reported that the man has not answered any questions put to him during police interviewing.

It has been confirmed that his mobile phone and computer have been seized for forensic and digital investigations. Police also confirmed the man used a single-shot rifle, meaning he had to manually reload after every shot. It is believed four or five shots were fired.

The weapon did not belong to the man and officer said he had used it without the permission of the owner. Just 28,000 people live in Imatra, which is about 140 miles (230km) from Finland's capital Helsinki.