Those who knew Matti Juhani Saari were shocked at the news he had killed ten students in a school shooting spree. Schoolmates and teachers describe him as sociable and an ordinary student in school. A former classmate who knew him from the beginning of the seventh grade said he was “perhaps quiet but not the solitary type.” There was some indication of a few bullying encounters between Saari and other boys but, for the most part, he had friends and got along in school. Another classmate said “in the ninth grade he started mixing with some rather heavier circles, but I would still have never believed that something like this could happen.”
Teachers report he interacted in class and work well with other students. One said: “he was an average student, whose grades varied from to to five(on a 0 to 5 scale). I thought he was quite a sympathetic type of guy.”
However, he did take part in online chats that discussed American school shootings and Pekka-Eric Auvinen who killed eight Finnish students last year. Investigators found messages in his home that he hated humankind and had been planning the shooting since 2002. His hobbies included computers, the drums, sex, beer, and target practice with his Walther 22 pistol.
Police officials now say they received information last Friday about a possible shooting and they talked with the boy the day before the shooting but no attempt was made to take away his weapon.
The question, as always in these cases, is what was the final reason why he decided to kill. We probably will never know the answer to that question.