11/12/2007

Finnish school shooter contacted Pa. teen planning similar attack

By Patrick Walters
The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A teenager who admitted plotting a school attack near Philadelphia had chatted online about the Columbine massacre with a teenage outcast who killed eight people and himself in a high school shooting in Finland, the Pennsylvania boy's attorney said Monday.

But the teen was "horrified" when he found out about the Finnish attack and said he never would have suspected him of following through on a violent act, the attorney said.

Finnish police said material seized from the computer of Pekka-Eric Auvinen suggests the 18-year-old had communicated online with Dillon Cossey, 14, who was arrested in October for allegedly preparing a attack at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in suburban Philadelphia.

Cossey's attorney, J. David Farrell, said he showed Auvinen's online screen name to his client Monday and he rememebered communicating with him about video games and the 1999 Columbine massacre in Colorado and exchanging videos they found on the Internet.

"They had discussed certain video games and shared videos with each other," Farrell said. "Obviously, Columbine was a shared topic of interest."

Auvinen killed six students, a nurse and the principal Wednesday in Tuusula, about 30 miles north of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. He then shot himself in the head, and died hours later at a hospital.

Finnish investigators have said Auvinen left a suicide note for his family and foreshadowed the attack in YouTube postings. On Monday, Rabbe von Hertzen, a detective in the case, said Auvinen is believed to have written the suicide note on Nov. 5, suggesting he had planned the attacks for at least two days.

Police have described Auvinen as a bullied teenage outcast consumed with anger against society.

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