Original article no longer available
Nov 7, 2007
Results of police investigation released on Thursday
On his last evening, on November 6th, 2007, the day before he shot dead eight other people and himself at his school in Jokela, north of Helsinki, Pekka-Eric Auvinen was sitting next to his computer. His mother was worried that he had been spending too much time at the keyboard in the preceding week, and that he might be isolating himself from others.
She also noted that there were glass bottles lying in the corners of the room. Auvinen promised to put them in the recycling bin.
On his computer the focus was different. He wrote admiringly about school massacres in the United States and said that he would do something similar soon.
The preliminary investigation material released on Thursday this week showed that Auvinen had been pondering the action for more than six months. He gave his operation the English-language name Main Strike, and stated in his diary that his aim was to kill as many people as possible.
Auvinen did well in school – especially history. He did not skip classes, and used two separate alarm clocks to make sure that he would wake up in time for school.
Auvinen was a neat dresser. He would typically button his flannel shirt all the way to the collar button, and comb his hair back with hair gel. He always had a long leather coat and a briefcase, instead of a backpack.
Some pupils found Auvinen a bit frightening, while others felt that he was just strange and withdrawn.
Auvinen was notorious for his fascination with extreme movements. At times he would support communism, and at other times he sympathised with Nazism.
Auvinen’s interest in politics began already at an early age. In the primary grades he also became the victim of school bullying. His mother tried to intervene, which only made things worse. In the upper grades of comprehensive school, Auvinen’s teacher gave the other pupils a lecture about bullying.
In the first year of upper secondary school, Auvinen was referred to as Pekka the communist. According to teachers and schoolmates, Auvinen did not appear to resent being ribbed, and he often answered back. The most active taunters were his friends.
Social situations made Auvinen anxious, and he would easily blush. In 2006 a doctor prescribed him an antidepressant. Because of the queue for treatment, he was not referred to a psychiatrist.
Auvinen’s friends say that he began to withdraw last spring.
In the autumn Auvinen’s mother began to become increasingly worried about how her son’s ideas were developing. He began to admire the extreme right, and people at school started calling him Pekka the Nazi. He told his mother that he could approve of violence in certain circumstances.
The bomb explosion at the Myyrmanni shopping mall in Vantaa in October 2002 crossed Pekka’s mother’s mind. “I hoped that the same thing would not happen with Pekka”, the mother said during the investigation.
Auvinen nevertheless did well in his matriculation examinations.
He either reduced or stopped using his prescription drugs. His mother took the pills into his room and reminded him to take them. Pekka-Eric Auvinen said that he was opposed to medication.
Auvinen found like-minded friends on the Internet, spent time on message boards, and acquired a pistol. He noted to his online friends that Finland is a “crazy country” for letting a crazy person like him a weapon.
On the morning of the shootings Auvinen logged on to the Internet at 8:26. He went onto the pages of his school, looked through the study guide, and the lesson plan.
At 11:29 he modified a suicide note that he had written to his family. He switched off the computer at 11:28.
Fourteen minutes later Auvinen shot his first victim. After that he killed seven others and finally shot himself in the head.