The heavily armed teenage suspect who opened fire at a school in the southern French town of Grasse researched the Columbine massacre before injuring at least eight people.

The 17-year-old suspect, reported to be Kylian Barbey, son of the right-wing municipal councillor, Franck Barbey, is accused of entering the Tocqueville high school armed with a rifle, two handguns and two grenades and opening fire on 16 March.

The headteacher of the school is believed to have been one of those injured in the attack which police say is not terrorism related.

French media reports that before the shooting occurred, the 17-year-old changed his Facebook profile name to 'Killian Barbey' and researched previous school massacres.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said: "The first investigations suggest [the suspect] had consulted American-style mass killing videos."

The last photo on posted on the Facebook page belonging to 'Killian' is an illustration of a man holding two guns and wearing a trench coat, reminiscent of outfits associated with the Columbine shooters.

The artwork is named 'genocide crusade' and comes from the infamous ultraviolent video game Hatred, in which you play a character with the aim of killing civilians and police until ultimately dying in a 'death by cop' scenario.

Killian Barbey
'Genocide crusade' image taken form suspected Facebook page of the shooter Facebook/Killian Barbey

The account also features a video of somebody wearing a clown mask holding a gun to his head, along with several images of the comic book villain, the Joker and other Satanic imagery.

James Holmes, the gunman who shot dead 12 people at a screening of the Dark Knight Rises shooting in a Colorado cinema in 2012, is believed to have dyed his hair red before the attack in reference to the Batman villain.

A YouTube account linked to the name Killian Barbey also features a playlist entitled Columbine, containing nothing but a full-length video of the 2003 movie film Zero day - a film featuring fictional 'home movie' footage of two students plotting and carrying out a school shooting - and a video of the hip-hop song The Anatomy Of A School Shooting by Ill Bill.

Killian Barbey
Screenshot of a video which appears on Killian Barbey's Facebook account Facebook/Killian Barbey

The account is also subscribed to the official Marilyn Manson YouTube account. The popular metal singer was initially blamed as heavily influencing Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris's decision to commit the Columbine massacre in 1999.

The 17-year-old, described as a "loner" by fellow pupils at the school, was not known to police prior to the shooting.

An eye-witness student in the school told France Inter radio the the students had heard a bang before taking cover under the tables. The unnamed student added: "I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eyes. He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away."

Another student, Benjamin, told Nice Matin: "I was sitting down finishing my lunch. I heard a big explosion, then two others. I turned and saw someone in the schoolyard with a pump-action shotgun, firing. He fired through windows into the classrooms overlooking the yard. When I saw that, I ran away."

Tocqueville high school
High school students stand near the Tocqueville high school after a shooting incident injuring at least eight people, in Grasse Eric Gaillard/Reuters