There were clearly enough triggers that this person was in need of assistance - I don't understand why people turn away from mental illness when someone who faints in a classroom gets three or four people running to help out....
abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3048108&page=1 (external - login to view)
Killer's Note: 'You Caused Me to Do This'
Cho Seung-Hui, 23-Year-Old Shooter, Described as 'Troubled'
By DAVID SCHOETZ, NED POTTER, RICHARD ESPOSITO, PIERRE THOMAS and the staff of ABC News
April 17, 2007 —
- Seung-Hui Cho, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, left a long and "disturbing" note in his dorm room at Virginia Tech, say law enforcement sources.
Sources have now described the note, which runs several pages, as beginning in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. It contains rhetoric explaining Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this," the sources told ABC News.
Sources say Cho, 23, killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left the note, then went to a classroom building on the other side of campus. There, he killed 30 more people in four classrooms before shooting himself in the head.
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Witnesses say he was stone-faced as he opened fire. Sources say he may have had a romantic interest in a young woman who was found dead after the first shootings.
A 'Troubled' Young Man
Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of Virginia Tech's English department, is quoted as saying a colleague, Lucinda Roy, described Cho as "troubled." According to a report from the Associated Press, Roy was concerned enough about what Cho wrote in an assignment last year that she recommended he seek counseling.
TheSmokingGun.com has posted the text of a play, purported to be by Cho, which describes a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophelia, and ends with the boy's death. In the play, titled "Richard McBeef," the boy talks of killing his stepfather.
"There was some concern about him," Rude said. "Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be. But we're all alert to not ignore things like this."
Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.
Cho, born in South Korea, was a legal resident alien of the United States. He was a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in English.
Sources tell ABC News Cho bought his first gun, a Glock 9 millimeter handgun, on March 13; they say he bought his second, a Walther .22 caliber pistol, within the last week. The serial numbers on both guns had been filed off, they said.
Authorities found the receipt for the 9 millimeter handgun in Cho's backpack. They say the bag also contained two knives and additional ammunition for the two guns.
Legal permanent resident aliens may purchase firearms in the state of Virginia. A resident alien must, however, provide additional identification to prove he or she is a resident of the state.
Sections of chain similar to those used to lock the main doors at Norris Hall, the site of the second shooting that left 31 dead, were also found inside a Virginia Tech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.
President Bush and the first lady addressed the Virginia Tech community at a convocation Tuesday afternoon.
"Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class," Bush said. "And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories."
"For many of you here today, it was the worst day in your lives," Bush said.
Positive Fingerprint Match
Cho's identity has been confirmed by matching fingerprints on his guns with his immigration records.
"Lab results confirm that one of the two weapons seized in Norris Hall was used in both shootings," Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
At this time, police are not looking for a second shooter, though they did not rule out the possibility that Cho could have had an accomplice.
ABC News' Amy Thomas and Jason Ryan contributed to this report.
Cho, according to law enforcement officials, had entered the country through Detroit with his family in 1992, at the age of eight. He last renewed his green card in 2003. As of yesterday, his home address was listed as Centreville, Va., and the university reported he was living in a campus dormitory, Harper Hall.
Cho's parents live in a townhouse development in Centreville, a suburb of Washington. They own a dry-cleaning shop nearby. Police searched their home last night. On Tuesday, no one was answering their door.
One neighbor, Marshall Main, describes Cho's parents as quiet and polite. Neither Main nor another neighbor recalled seeing the son in recent years.
Cho graduated from Westfield High School, a Fairfax County public school, in 2003. The school system says two of the dead yesterday at Virginia Tech had graduated from Westfield in 2006; they would have been freshmen when Cho was a senior.
Two-Hour Gap Between Shootings
Police say Cho killed two people in West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory near his own, shortly after 7:00 a.m. Monday. Then, two hours later, he opened fire in Norris Hall, a classroom building across campus.
Reporters continued to ask today why administrators did not cancel classes after the first shooting, and why it took more than two hours to inform the university community via e-mail about the first incident. The first e-mail notifying students of the dorm shooting was not sent by the school until 9:24 a.m -- by which time the second shooting was already over.
According to President Charles Steger, the administration locked down West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But he said classes weren't canceled because the shooting was believed to be tied to a domestic dispute and campus police believed the shooter had left the campus.
"The second shooting, no one predicted that was also going to happen that morning," Steger said. "So if you're talking about locking it down, what is it you're going to lock down? It's like closing a city. It doesn't happen simultaneously."
Steger also said he would not step down, and at Tuesday's press conference, John Marshall, secretary of public safety in Virginia, came to Steger's side.
"It's important we get this done, but more importantly, we must get this done right," Marshall said.
By Monday night, investigators had ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide in the first dormitory shooting. Ryan "Stack" Clark, a member of the school's marching band, the Marching Virginians, and a student resident assistant, was killed there by a shot in the neck. His next-door neighbor, freshman Emily Hilscher, was also found dead.
At Norris Hall, the gunman left a trail of bloodshed, which Flinchum, the Virginia Tech police chief, called "one of the worst things I've seen in my life."
No identification was found on Cho's body, police said. He apparently shot himself in the head after the killings; part of his face was missing when his body was found.
No Confirmed Connection to Earlier Bomb Threats
Police today said they could not confirm that two separate bomb threats last week targeting Virginia Tech engineering buildings are connected to Monday's rampage.
The first of the two threats was directed at Torgersen Hall, a classroom and laboratory building, while the second was directed at multiple engineering buildings. Students and staff were evacuated, and the university sent out e-mails across campus, offering a $5,000 reward for information about the threats.
Virginia Tech -- formally known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- is located in the western end of the state near the borders of West Virginia and Tennessee. It has more than 25,000 full-time students. Its campus, which spreads over 2,600 acres, has more than 100 buildings.
The number of dead is almost twice as high as the previous record for a mass shooting on an American college campus. That took place at the University of Texas at Austin on Aug. 1, 1966, when a gunman named Charles Whitman opened fire from the 28th floor of a campus tower. Whitman killed 16 and injured 31.
Last edited by Curiosity; Apr 17th, 2007 at 04:45 PM..Reason: word incorrect