Finnish school gunman in hospital after suicide attempt

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At least eight people were shot dead at a Finnish school today by a teenage gunman who posted a video of his planned massacre on the internet hours before.

The 18-year-old was still holding police at bay this afternoon and had taken some pupils hostage, according to reports.

Among his victims was the school head but it is not known if they survived. A medical team leader at the scene said the final total could be even higher.

Most of the 400 pupils aged between 12 and 18 managed to flee Jokela high school in Tuusula, 30 miles north of Helsinki.

The unnamed gunman apparently posted a video called Jokela high school massacre on the YouTube website, the latest of dozens he listed over the last fortnight. It shows a boy standing with a gun pointed towards the camera.

Going only by the username Sturmgeist89, he calls himself a "social darwinist" who would "eliminate all who I see unfit".

The videos have now been removed from the website.

The shootings are the first such incidents in Finnish history - previous school confrontations have involved knives at worst and no one has died.

Teacher Kim Kiuru said the first he knew of the incident was when the head announced over the public address system just before noon (1000GMT) that all students should remain in their classrooms.

"I stayed in the corridor to listen to more instructions, having locked my classroom door.

"After that I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-calibre handgun in his hand through the doors toward me, after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction."

He said he saw a woman's body as he fled the building.

"Then my pupils shouted at me out of the windows to ask what they should do and I told them to jump out of the windows ... and all my pupils were saved."

The gunman shot himself and survived. He is believed to be in hospital.