Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 07:51 GMT BBC News
Finland mourns shooting victims
Finnish PM Matti Vanhanen called the shooting a “great tragedy”
A national day of mourning is being held in Finland after an 18-year-old man went on a gun rampage at his school and killed seven pupils and a teacher.
The gunman, reportedly identified as Pekka-Eric Auvinen, shot himself in the head and later died in hospital.
The shooting happened in Tuusula, some 50km (30 miles) north of Helsinki, and officials have set up a crisis centre to help those affected by the tragedy.
The gunman gave a warning of the attack in a video posted on the internet.
The home-made film called “Jokela High School massacre 11/7/2007” shows a young man pointing a gun and declaring himself a “social Darwinist” who would “eliminate all who I see unfit”.
Correspondents say the video is similar to the one made by Cho Seung Hui, who sent a recording of himself to the US NBC television network before killing 32 students at Virginia Tech University in April.
See a map of Tuusula
Announcing a national day of mourning on Thursday, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen described Wednesday’s shooting in Tuusula as a “great tragedy”.
This is an awful day… The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society
Finnish Prime Minister
“This is an awful day… The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society… Nobody had expected such things,” he said.
The Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, also expressed her shock.
“I send my heart-felt condolences to the families of the victims in the shooting incident,” she added.
Esa Ukkllola, the head of educational and cultural services in the Tuusula region, told the BBC officials had set up a crisis centre to help those affected by the tragedy.
“There will be crisis people going to schools and discussing with teachers and students,” he told Radio 5live.
“We have had lots of empathy and help from other main supporters around. They have sent us their resources like doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists so we can use them to help other schools get through this.”
Finnish police said five boys, two girls and the female principal of Jokela High School were shot dead when an 18-year-old pupil entered the school building around 1100 (0900 GMT). Twelve others were injured.