Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Shooter: Cho Seung Hui - Troubled

Update: 2:24 p.m. (Revised)

Source: NBC4
Officials have identified the gunman in the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus.He has been identified as Cho Seung Hui. He was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, 23, a South Korean native, was in the United States as a resident alien with a residence in Centerville, Va.
Cho, a South Korean immigrant who had been in the United States since 1992, held a green card signifying his status as a legal permanent U.S. resident, federal officials said Tuesday. He attended Westfield High School, according to NBC News' Pete Williams.
Immigration records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security show that Cho was born in South Korea on January 18, 1984 and entered the United States through Detroit on September 2, 1992. He had last renewed his green card on October 27, 2003.
University officials said he lived in a dormitory on the Virginia Tech campus, but could shed no light on a motive for the shooting spree that left 33 dead. "He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," said Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker.
The English major's creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service, officials said. 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'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." She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws.
The gunman's family lived in an off-white, two-story town house in Centreville. "He was very quiet, always by himself," neighbor Abdul Shash said of the gunman. Shash said the gunman spent a lot of his free time playing basketball, and wouldn't respond if someone greeted him. He described the family as quiet. Marshall Main, who lives across the street, said the family had lived in the townhouse for several years.
According to court records, Virginia Tech Police issued a speeding ticket to Cho on April 7 for going 44 mph in a 25 mph zone, and he had a court date set for May 23.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry expressed its condolences, and said South Korea hoped that the tragedy would not "stir up racial prejudice or confrontation."
"We are in shock beyond description," said Cho Byung-se, a ministry official handling North American affairs. "We convey deep condolences to victims, families and the American people."

Federal law enforcement officials are saying that Cho (his surname, not first name) left a note "railing" on "rich kids", "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans". They are going through his computer in hopes of finding more clues that will lead them to why Cho committed mass murder yesterday.