This is Matt Hutchinson, the SUNY Geneseo student who was murdered this past weekend at the college.
I know him.
Or knew him.
The news is everwhere, even CNN: He was at his friend's house. The ex boyfriend came in and stabbed them before stabbing himself. Then he called his dad and said he was thinking of suicide. Police responding to the dad's 911 call found all three bodies.
I recently wrote this story about Matt, in a series I created inspired by Humans of New York: short intimate portraits of the people who make up Geneseo, with some life insights to ponder.
Matt was a stand-out hockey player. Student. He could do a bunch of stuff, but his dream was to be a pro firefighter and run around saving people and the land and things. He volunteered doing that in Geneseo. And last summer, he was a wildlife firefighter in Canada, where he's from.
He was gentle, kind, and as a journalist, I appreciated he was very timely. We were running a big story on his firefighting passion in the college magazine, written first by the athletics department. I followed up. Sadly, it hadn't yet gone to press for 50, 000 people to read about him ... before this.
I spent hours looking at his photos. Asking him questions. Camaraderie, feeling you can trust someone with your life, and saving others, doing something "good" came up. A lot.
When I found out it was him, I had woken up from an exhaustion nap after falling and spraining the heck out of my ankle and foot the day before. I read the name and shouted into the darkness, "Oh no! Oh no! Oh my God!"
I cried, looking into the hallway with its light. I saw him with his ax. Remembered his words.
I have thought about him very often during these 2 days. Eating dinner, I looked at my dining companion and beyond him, imagined him at a far table, slurping noodles. A ghostly image, with the stark reminder that this is what it will be like for his family, his best friends ...
There will be an empty hole that no time or forgiveness or ache will fill. I don't know much more about his personality, but this is a guy whose passion in life was helping others. What a shrinking value on this place, where we need all the good we can get. Now he's wipe off the planet.
It is so sad that we sometimes cannot overcome our own demons, and this is how it plays out. Life goes on, and that seems to be the cruelest consequence of all, I would bet, when you are the ones who know just how much was lost.
You can read his profile/story here: (Photo by Keith Walters)