Shooter ID'd as Korean National, Va. Tech Student, Cho Seung-Hui

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Apr 17, 2007 9:37 AM

He left a "disturbing note" behind:

The student killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his dorm room where he re-armed and left a"disturbing note" before entering a classroom building on the other side of campus to continue his rampage, sources said.

Cho's identitiy has been confirmed with a positive fingerprint match on the guns used in the rampage and with immigration materials. It is believed that he was the shooter in both incidents yesterday. Sources say Cho was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol, sources said. Witnesses had also told authorities that the shooter was carrying a backpack. 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 found inside a VirginiaTech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.

He used a Glock 9 mm and a .22, according to reports.

Va. Tech administrators and local law enforcement is still holding up that story about there possibly being another shooter, which I never thought made a whole lot of sense, but nonetheless:

President Charles Steger told "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer that police were still investigating the possibility of a second shooter, and said authorities had already interviewed one "person of interest."

"There may be others," said Steger, who will join the Virginia Tech chief of police at a press conference Tuesday morning. "We just don't know."

Steger also said that authorities hoped to have ballistics evidence to release that would confirm a connection between the two shootings.

Recriminations are coming hard and strong against the university president and the chief of police, as we knew they would.

Update: In the midst of tragedy, there are always heroes. Meet Prof. Liviu Libresc, a 75-year-old Israeli teacher who was killed while holding the classroom door shut so his students could escape through the windows. Amazing.

More updates at Hot Air, where Allah's speculating about how the shooter managed to be so deadly if he was spraying bullets randomly. There have been reports that he lined people up and shot them execution-style, but it seems likely his captors would have turned on him once they saw what was in store for them. The death toll is so high, it seems he would have had to be awfully accurate with a 9 mm, and particularly the .22, to reak so much havoc.


The eye-witness accounts and reconstruction of this crime will be absolutely chilling. It's just so unspeakably sad.

The convocation is at 2 p.m. today, and President Bush and Gov. Tim Kaine will be attending.

Update: Playing dead:

A gunman who killed at least 30 people in one of two shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech was dressed "almost like a Boy Scout," saida student who survived by pretending to lie dead on a classroom floor.

"He just stepped within five feet of the door and just started firing,"said Erin Sheehan, who was in one of the Norris Hall classrooms wherethe second shooting incident took place.

Sheehan described the gunman -- who later shot and killed himself, according to police -- asa young man wearing a short-sleeved tan shirt and black ammunition vest.

"He seemed very thorough about it -- getting almost everyone down -- I pretended to be dead," she said. (Watch student describe surviving by playing dead Video)

"He was very silent," said Sheehan, one of only four students in her 25-student German class who were not shot.

The gunman left but returned in about 30 seconds. "I guess he heard us still talking," said Sheehan.

"We forced ourselves against the door so he couldn't come in again, because the door would not lock."

The man tried three more times to force his way in and then began firing through the door, she said.

Update: One doctor at the Blacksburg hospital said he didn't see a victim come in who hadn't been shot at least three times.

Update: Details on the note Cho left behind, and possible warning signs:

Cho had shown recent signs of violent, aberrant behavior, according toan investigative source, including setting a fire in a dorm room and allegedly stalking some women.

A note believed to have been written by Cho was found in his dorm roomthat railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus.

Cho was an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing thathe was referred to the school's counseling service, the Associated Press reported.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as"troubled."

"There was some concern about him," Rude said. "Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it'screative 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."

Update: Pictures and names of victims are starting to come out. This is partially speculative, but I've read that Emily Hilscher, an 18-year-old from Woodville, Va., was the first victim, and perhaps involved with the shooter. She and Ryan Clark, her neighbor in her dorm, who reports say may have come to her assistance, were shot in the early-morning incident.

I moved the victim remembrances to a new post, here, and I'm continually updating.

Update: Even Cho's roommate didn't know him well:

Mr. Aust spoke just outside his room, on the wall outside the doorwas Mr. Aust’s name was with that of his roommate, spelled “Sueng-ho,”on an orange cutout of a fish provided to all the students by theresident advisor when they moved in last August.

“He was alwaysreally, really quiet and kind of weird, keeping to himself all thetime,” he said. “Just of anti-social, didn’t talk to anybody. I triedto make conversation with him in August or so and he would just giveone word answers and not try and carry on the conversation.”

He said it was a creepy quietness.

“Iwould notice a lot of times, I would come in the room and he would kindof be sitting at his desk, just staring at nothing,” he said.

He sounds anti-social in the extreme, not just a "loner," as they're often described. Fox is reporting that, on the first day of an English lit class, he refused to introduce himself, and gave his name on a sign-in sheet as just a question mark.  

Update: Allah finds word that the killer warned "im going to kill people at vtech today," on an online forum.

Dan Riehl is tracking down rumors about the possible relationship between Cho and Emily Hilscher. Some have said they were involved. Some have said he may have been stalking her. At least one of her friends said on Fox News she was not aware that Emily knew the killer at all.

Emily had broken upwith Cho-Seung-hui about two weeks prior to yesterday, what had startedas a promising relationship had turned into a controlling, almostvolatile situation. Cho Seung-hui was very dependent upon Emily. Helooked to her as his ’saving grace’ and felt that every spare momentthe two had, should be spent together. At first, Emily was charmed byhis attentiveness, but began to slowly feel isolated, controlled,stagnant. Cho Seung-hui didn’t take the break-up well, for the past twoweeks he had been trying to convince Emily they belonged together.

Who knows? For what it's worth, Emily's MySpace page, the last login for which is December '06, makes reference to what sounds like a promising new relationship:

i am the pixie. my friends are what keep me smiling. i live inbumfuck...but i make the best of it. i unfortunatly am alone... allalone.. i live love and get booted but eventually that will change.have a wonderful guy who is hopefully going to change all of that...but dont know what is going to happen.

But this is from the description on her memorial Facebook group, which appears to have been started by a very close, long-time friend of hers:

EMILY HILSCHER IS NOT RELATED TO THE SHOOTER IN ANY WAY REGARDING A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP. SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH KARL THORNHILL.

Here's a screencap from the Facebook group:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

 

it feels unlikely that the killer had a romantic relationship with Hilscher. In all of her profiles and pictures, she seems very social, outgoing, well-liked. How would she become involved with an anti-social loner who would barely talk to other people on campus?

Update: The Hilscher/Cho connection is officially debunked by Hilscher's best friend and roommate. The rumors were apparently sparked by the fact that Hilscher's boyfriend was an avid gun-user, which made him a "person of interest" in her shooting. That would explain the "domestic dispute" angle, and the weird messages during the press conference yesterday that there may have been two separate shooters.