Christopher Swanson, Former Pennsylvania Teacher, Allegedly Put Suicide Note Online

High School Teacher Allegedly Put Suicide Note Online

ERIE, Pa. -- A former Pennsylvania high school teacher who died Friday allegedly published on the Internet a detailed suicide note that described his job loss and desire to leave "this Vile, Despicable world."

Christopher Swanson, 41, was found dead early Friday in front of a fountain on the Mercyhurst University Campus in Erie. He was a former science teacher in Smethport, a small town located about 100 miles southeast of Erie.

Erie County coroner Lyell Cook has deemed Swanson's death a suicide, resulting from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to the Erie-Times News, the coroner's office estimates the shooting occurred between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday.

During the investigation into Swanson's death, authorities in Smethport locked down Smethport High School. According to The Bradford Era, the move was prompted by a Facebook message that had been posted on a page attributed to Swanson.

A source this afternoon sent The Huffington Post a link to the Facebook page. The message read in part:

"I'm going to kill myself. I'm going to shoot myself in the head with an 1891 Argentine Mauser, a rifle I inherited from my grandfather. I was hoping this heirloom would be something that I would pass on to my children, along with stories about my grandfather, but I'm going to kill myself with it instead ... I cannot justify existing in this Hideous world, this Vile, Despicable world ... where it is impossible for me to ever be happy."

The Facebook message contains a link to a website that is also attributed to Swanson. The website, titled "The Pessimist Was Right All Along," details a job loss and relationship problems. It also contains photos of torn up teaching certificates, a bible with shredded pages and a photo of a rifle.

On the website, a number of alleged reasons for the suicide are noted. Each is referred to as a "trigger."

"High school, college, all the work I've done. It was all for nothing ... I cannot be with the one I love, I cannot do the work I love. There is no hope, the dream is lost ... I always knew it would end like this," the author wrote.

HuffPost is not linking to the Facebook page or website, because both pages are still under investigation by police.

College president Tom Gamble addressed the incident in a letter posted to Twitter on Friday.

"Our prayers are with the deceased and his family. Counseling and prayer services will be arranged soon. Please remain calm and respectful," Gamble said.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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