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Cho Accused Of Stalking Two Years Ago

From the Associated Press:

Va. Tech gunman accused of stalking

By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The gunman involved in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history had previously been accused of stalking two female students and had been taken to a mental health facility in 2005, but no charges were filed, police said Wednesday.

Cho Seung-Hui worried one woman enough with his calls and e-mail in 2005 that police were called in, said Police Chief Wendell Flinchum.

He said the woman declined to press charges and Cho was referred to the university disciplinary system. The case was then outside the scope of the police department, he said.

In one incident, the department received a call from Cho’s parents who were concerned that he might be suicidal and he was taken to mental health facility, Flinchum said.

Cho’s roommates and professors on Wednesday described a troubled, very quiet young man who rarely spoke to his roommates or made eye contact with them. His bizarre behavior became even less predictable in recent weeks, roommates Joseph Aust and Karan Grewal said…

Several students and professors described Cho as a sullen loner. Authorities said he left a rambling note raging against women and rich kids. News reports said that Cho, a 23-year-old senior majoring in English, may have been taking medication for depression and that he was becoming increasingly erratic.

Professors and classmates were alarmed by his class writings — pages filled with twisted, violence-drenched writing.

“It was not bad poetry. It was intimidating,” poet Nikki Giovanni, one of his professors, told CNN Wednesday.

“I know we’re talking about a youngster, but troubled youngsters get drunk and jump off buildings,” she said. “There was something mean about this boy. It was the meanness — I’ve taught troubled youngsters and crazy people — it was the meanness that bothered me. It was a really mean streak.”

Giovanni said her students were so unnerved by Cho’s behavior, including taking pictures of them with his cell phone, that some stopped coming to class and she had security check on her room. She eventually had him taken out of her class, saying she would quit if he wasn’t removed.

Lucinda Roy, a co-director of creative writing at Virginia Tech, said she tutored Cho after that.

“He was so distant and so lonely,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday. “It was almost like talking to a hole, as though he wasn’t there most of the time. He wore sunglasses and his hat very low so it was hard to see his face.”

Roy also described using a code word with her assistant to call police if she ever felt threatened by Cho, but she said she never used it.

Cho’s writing was so disturbing, though, he was referred to the university’s counseling service, said Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department.

In screenplays Cho wrote for a class last fall, characters throw hammers and attack with chainsaws, said a student who attended Virginia Tech last fall. In another, Cho concocted a tale of students who fantasize about stalking and killing a teacher who sexually molested them.

“When we read Cho’s plays, it was like something out of a nightmare,” former classmate Ian MacFarlane, now an AOL employee, wrote in a blog posted on an AOL Web site.

“The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn’t have even thought of.”

He said he and other students “were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter.”

“We always joked we were just waiting for him to do something, waiting to hear about something he did,” said another classmate, Stephanie Derry. “But when I got the call it was Cho who had done this, I started crying, bawling.”

Despite the many warning signs that came to light in the bloody aftermath, police and university officials offered no clues as to exactly what set Cho off.

Cho — who arrived in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., where his parents worked at a dry cleaners — left a note that was found after the bloodbath.

A law enforcement official described it Tuesday as a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

“You caused me to do this,” the official quoted the note as saying.

Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done, the official said. He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity, the official said.

The official said the letter was either found in Cho’s dorm room or in his backpack. The backpack was found in the hallway of the classroom building where the shootings happened, and contained several rounds of ammunition, the official said…

“He was very quiet, always by himself,” neighbor Abdul Shash said. Shash said Cho spent a lot of his free time playing basketball and would not respond if someone greeted him.

Some classmates said that on the first day of a British literature class last year, the 30 or so students went around and introduced themselves. When it was Cho’s turn, he didn’t speak.

On the sign-in sheet where everyone else had written their names, Cho had written a question mark. “Is your name, `Question mark?'” classmate Julie Poole recalled the professor asking. The young man offered little response.

Cho spent much of that class sitting in the back of the room, wearing a hat and seldom participating. In a small department, Cho distinguished himself for being anonymous. “He didn’t reach out to anyone. He never talked,” Poole said.

“We just really knew him as the question mark kid,” Poole said…

Mostly this is just a recap of what is known so far about this obviously twisted young man.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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