A teenage gunman killed eight people as he rampaged through his school in Finland yesterday, hours after bragging on the internet that he planned to unleash a bloodbath.
Pekka-Eric Auvinen (18) killed seven fellow pupils and the headmistress at Jokela High School in Tuusula, 30 miles north of Finland's capital Helsinki.
He was surrounded by heavily armed police and attempted suicide by turning his gun on himself. But he survived and last night was in a critical condition in hospital.
Matti Tohkanen, the local police chief, said the dead included five boys and two girls.
The carnage came hours after Auvinen, calling himself Sturmgeist89, uploaded a film entitled ``Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007'' to the video-sharing website, YouTube.
Auvinen's direct threat in his final video was a chilling echo of the video posted to a television network by Seung-Hui Cho, the student who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University in America in April.
Other recent films posted by Auvinen glorified the gunmen from the Columbine school massacre in the United States and several serial killers.
YouTube suspended access to the videos soon after the news broke.
Students described scenes of panic as their armed classmate ran methodically up and down corridors, shooting repeatedly into classrooms.
``Suddenly people began running and shots began raining down,'' said Miro Lukinmaa, a fellow pupil.
`A teacher, Kim Kiuru, described the gunman working his way through the school, which is attended by 400 pupils aged between 12 and 18.
``He was moving systematically through the school hallways, knocking on the doors and shooting through the doors,'' Mr Kiuru said.
``I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-calibre handgun in his hand through the doors towards me after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction.
"It felt unreal: a pupil I have taught was running towards me, screaming, a pistol in his hand." He said that when he saw a woman's body as he fled he told his students to jump out of classroom windows rather than be trapped.
"All my pupils were saved,'' he said. Others were not so lucky. The killer's victims included the headmistress, who was the first to raise the alarm, shortly before noon.
Broadcasting over the school's public address system, she warned teachers and pupils to stay in their classrooms and lock the doors. The killer then tracked her down and made her his only adult victim.
Others who got in his way were also killed. Anna-Liisa Vainio, who arrived at the school for a meeting with her daughter's teacher, stumbled into the middle of the carnage.
She described four students lying face down in the middle of a corridor and immediately thought that a practice drill for emergencies was under way.
As police rushed to the scene and surrounded the killer, he shot himself in the head. ``When police arrived there was complete chaos, pupils were jumping out of the building through the windows,'' said Inspector Timo Leppala, who is leading the investigation.
The survivors were quickly transferred to another school and to Jokela's church, where desperate parents gathered for news of their children. (© Daily Telegraph, London).