Mobile phone footage from Kauhajoki
At least nine people have been killed and two others wounded in a shooting spree at a college in the town of Kauhajoki in western Finland.
Police said the gunman, thought to be a 20-year-old student, then shot himself, although his condition is now unclear.
The gunman reportedly posted a video of himself on the internet last week firing a gun.
Police invited him to an interview but did not have enough evidence to revoke his licence, officials said.
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said this was a "tragic day" for Finland.
In 2007 eight people died in another school attack. Finland has one of the world's highest gun ownership rates.
Tuesday's shootings in Kauhajoki, some 330km (205 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki, began just before 1100 local time (0800 GMT).
An estimated 200 students were thought to be in the college buildings at the time.
A BBC correspondent in Finland said a gunman dressed in black was seen at the school, apparently carrying an automatic weapon.
A man with a ski mask was seen entering the building with a large bag, national broadcaster YLE reported. Shots were fired soon afterwards, and reports emerged that several people were seriously wounded.
School caretaker Jukka Forsberg told Finnish TV: "Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol.
"I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door."
Police ordered an evacuation and called for reinforcements as fires blazed in the building and local reports said Finland's heavy weapons squad was heading to Kauhajoki.
The gunman remained at large within the college grounds for some time before police apparently restrained and disarmed him.
"I just heard from the police radio that the shooter has been caught. He no longer has a gun," a police spokesman told the AFP news agency.
But hospital sources and the mayor of the town were later quoted as saying the attacker had turned his gun on himself. There was no confirmation of his condition.
In last year's incident, the gunman, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, posted a video on YouTube as a macabre preview of his attack, pledging to "eliminate" those he saw as "unfit".
In the wake of that attack, Finland's government pledged to raise the minimum age for buying guns.
But the country has a long tradition of hunting and weapons-bearing, with about 1.6 million firearms in private hands.