TUUSULA (Reuters) - Pekka-Eric Auvinen admired Adolf Hitler, counted Plato and Nietzsche among his favorite writers and called the handgun he used to end eight lives in Finland’s deadliest peacetime shooting rampage “Catherine”.
The exact reason 18-year-old Auvinen chose on Wednesday to open fire at Jokela High School — killing six fellow pupils, the principal and the school nurse — may never be known.
But the clearest clues lie in the words he wrote online.
“I am a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social socialdarwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist,” he wrote in English in a posting on YouTube.
“Don’t blame my parents or my friends. I told nobody about my plans and I always kept them inside my mind only.”
Auvinen called himself a “natural selector” and said he would “eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.”
So on Wednesday, he wrote a suicide message, took a gun he’d received a permit for three weeks before and 500 rounds of ammunition and walked through the school firing.
Police said each of his victims was shot several times and that some bodies were riddled with close to 20 bullets.
“He was always a little odd,” said classmate Roope Parviainen, trying to come to grips with the tragedy by walking with friends at a cemetery in Tuusula, a municipality 60 km (40 miles) south of Helsinki.
“A few months ago some of his close friends had noticed some videos and strange behavior, I do not know whether he was already thinking about this.”
Auvinen telegraphed his intent on YouTube with a video clip called “Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007” set to the song “Stray Bullet” by industrial rock band KMFDM.
Lyrics to various KMFDM songs, including “Stray Bullet” were also posted on a Web site maintained by Eric Harris, one of the gunmen in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in America. The two gunmen killed 12 other students and a teacher before killing themselves.
The clip shows a still photo of the Jokela school complex beside a pond. This breaks apart to reveal a red-tinted image of Auvinen aiming a gun at the camera — an image eerily similar to that on tapes made by Virginia Tech university shooter Seung-Hui Cho who killed 32 people in April this year.
“Sturmgeist89” — Auvinen’s user name on YouTube — means storm spirit in German.
“You might ask yourselves, why did I do this and what do I want. Well, most of you are too arrogant and closed-minded to understand,” he wrote.
The “human race is not worth fighting for or saving ... only worth killing.”
Kim Kiuru, a history and psychology teacher at Jokela school who had taught Auvinen, said Auvinen was a good student with unusual interests.
“He was interested in war history and extremist movements, national socialism,” Kiuru said.
Police said he came from a “normal family” and lived with his parents and little brother.
Auvinen also wrote online about his admiration for Hitler and said Plato and Nietzsche were among his favorite writers. He said he wished for an end to democracy.
“When intelligent people are finally free and rule the society instead of the idiocratic rule of majority,” he wrote. “In that great day of deliverance, you will know what I want.”
Susanna Hyttinen, 17, a fellow pupil who had taken a class with Auvinen said he was “never aggressive”.
She said he had showed a great deal of interest in a documentary the class watched in May about the Columbine school shootings in the United States.
“We wrote an essay on gun use, and he wrote a long and thorough one,” she said. “He was a good student, but very quiet, not many people knew him well.”
Reporting by Sakari Suoninen, editing by Peter Millership