Myyrmanni bombing

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2002 Myyrmanni bombing
Myyrmannin räjähdys.jpg
LocationVantaa, Finland
DateOctober 11, 2002
Deaths7 (including the bomb carrier)
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorPetri Gerdt

The Myyrmanni bombing took place on October 11, 2002, in Myyrmäki, Vantaa, Finland, in Greater Helsinki, at the Myyrmanni shopping mall.[1] A bomb carried by Petri Erkki-Tapio Gerdt exploded at 19:36 killing five immediately, including Gerdt. In total seven died, including two teenagers and a 7-year-old. 166 people were injured, including 10 children. 66 victims required hospitalization with the remainder treated and released at the scene.[2] The shopping center was especially crowded, with 1,000–2,000 people, including many children who had come to see a clown performance.[3]

The incident was investigated primarily as six accounts of murder and closed in January 2003 without any indictments as Gerdt was the sole suspect. His motive was not determined.[4][5]

Timeline of events[edit]

Summer and autumn of 2002[edit]

The perpetrator, Petri Gerdt, worked in a department store called Hong Kong for three months until a few days before the bombing. Some of the items needed for the bomb were bought from his workplace. After the summer, he did not work there as often. In the months before the bombing, Gerdt got the chemicals used in the bomb from several different stores. Some pharmacies refused to sell him the chemicals, because he couldn't explain why he needed them.

Friday, October 11, 2002[edit]

At 19:30 EEST, Gerdt sat on the benches near the explosion site. The backpack containing the explosive was next to his feet at the time.

At 19:35 EEST, the bomb exploded in his lap, killing him instantly.


The bomb carrier was Petri Erkki Tapio Gerdt (April 17, 1983 – October 11, 2002), who was killed in the explosion. He was a 19-year-old chemical engineering student at EVTEK (Espoo-Vantaa Institute of Technology) and a hobbyist bomb-maker. Gerdt had no prior criminal record.[3] He was also an active member of Kotikemia (lit. "home chemistry"), an on-line forum for amateur chemists.[3] The moderator of Kotikemia was acquitted of responsibility in court. The explosive device was likely constructed at his apartment. It weighed about 2–3 kilograms (4.4–6.6 lb) and was made of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane with shotgun shells and nails.[2]

The motive for the explosion is unknown,[1] but it is suspected that the bomb exploded prematurely. According to the police, the use of pellets to increase lethality hints that Gerdt's intention might have been to leave the bomb in the mall and detonate it remotely after leaving. Petri Gerdt's father, Armas, noted that his son used to detonate home-made explosives in the woods nearby and suspected that he was transporting the bomb to be set off elsewhere.[6]


The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation investigated the event as six accounts of murder, one account of aggravated criminal mischief and one account of explosives offence. The case was closed in January 2003 without any indicments as Gerdt was the sole suspect. Gerdt's motive for the bombing was not ascertained during the investigation.[4][5] The incident was labelled an accident by Finnish media although foreign sources speculated if it could have been terrorism.[7] There was no evidence found that Gerdt had links to any outside groups or to any international terrorist organizations.[1]



The bombing was especially shocking for Finland and the other Nordic countries, where bombings are extremely rare.[3]


On October 15, 2002 a national day of mourning was held throughout Finland. Some government buildings were closed, a moment of silence was held in the Parliament and flags ordered to be flown at half staff.[1] The shopping center was closed for nearly three weeks before re-opening later in October.[8]


Armas Gerdt wrote the book Petrin matka Myyrmanniin ("Petri's Road to Myyrmanni") about the incident.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Lyall, Sarah (October 15, 2002). "Teenager Held In Bombing That Killed 7 At Finnish Mall". The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Torkki, Markus; Virve Koljonen; Kirsi Sillanpää1; Erkki Tukiainen; Sari Pyörälä; Esko Kemppainen; Juha Kalske; Eero Arajärvi; Ulla Keränen; Eero Hirvensalo (August 2006). "Triage in a Bomb Disaster with 166 Casualties". European Journal of Trauma. 32 (4): 374–80. doi:10.1007/s00068-006-6039-8.
  3. ^ a b c d Örtenwall, Per; Almgren, Ola; Deverell, Edward (2003). "The bomb explosion in Myyrmanni, Finland 2002". International Journal of Disaster Medicine. Vol.1 (Iss.2): pg.120. doi:10.1080/15031430310029062. ISSN 1503-1438.
  4. ^ a b Leino, Piia (January 31, 2003). "Esitutkinta varmisti Myyrmannin räjäyttäjän toimineen yksin". (in Finnish). Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Verkkouutiset - Arkisto - Myyrmannin räjäyttäjä toimi yksin". January 31, 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  6. ^ Räty, Panu (October 2, 2004). "Poikani Petri Gerdt". Kuukausiliite (in Finnish): 28–36.
  7. ^ Marttinen, Vesa (January 10, 2015). "Tutkija: Sotien jälkeisessä Suomessa ei ole tehty yhtäkään terrori-iskua – vai onko?". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Vantaa shopping centre reopened.(Myyrmanni shopping center reopens following bomb attack". Nordic Business Report. Nordic Business Forum. October 30, 2002. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via
  9. ^ Gerdt, Armas (2004). Petrin matka Myyrmanniin (in Finnish) (1st ed.). [Helsinki]: Gummerus. ISBN 9789512065691. Retrieved October 11, 2015 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 60°15′36.5″N 24°51′12″E / 60.260139°N 24.85333°E / 60.260139; 24.85333