Gunman's Video Assaults Campus Again
Thursday, April 19, 2007; 2:34 AM
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Two days after the worst killing spree in modern U.S. history, the shooter again assaulted Virginia Tech _ though this time it was in videos and photographs.
In the images, mailed to NBC midway through his rampage, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui delivered a snarling, profanity-laced tirade about rich "brats" and their "hedonistic needs."
"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," the 23-year-old says in a harsh monotone. "But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."
NBC said the package contained a rambling and often incoherent 23-page written statement, 28 video clips and 43 photos. Several of the photos showed him aiming handguns at the camera.
The package arrived at NBC headquarters in New York on Tuesday and was opened Wednesday, two days after Cho killed 32 people and committed suicide. It bore a Postal Service time stamp showing that it had been mailed at a Blacksburg post office at 9:01 a.m. Monday, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho first opened fire.
"I saw his picture on TV and when I did I just got chills," said Kristy Venning, a junior from Franklin County, Va. "There's really no words. It shows he put so much thought into this and I think it's sick."
The package helped explain one of the biggest mysteries about the massacre: where the gunman was and what he did during that two-hour window between the first burst of gunfire, at a high-rise dorm, and the second attack, at a classroom building.
"Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats," says Cho, a South Korean immigrant whose parents work at a dry cleaners in suburban Washington. "Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust funds wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."
Earlier in the day, authorities disclosed that more than a year before the massacre, Cho was accused of sending unwanted messages to two women and was taken to a psychiatric hospital on a magistrate's orders and was pronounced a danger to himself. But he was released with orders to undergo outpatient treatment.
The disclosure added to the rapidly growing list of warning signs that appeared well before the student opened fire. Among other things, Cho's twisted, violence-filled writings and sullen, vacant-eyed demeanor had disturbed professors and students so much that he was removed from one English class and was repeatedly urged to get counseling.
Some of the pictures in the video package show him smiling; others show him frowning and snarling. Some depict him brandishing two weapons at a time, one in each hand. He wears a khaki-colored military-style vest, fingerless gloves, a black T-shirt, a backpack and a backward, black baseball cap. Another photo shows him swinging a hammer two-fisted. Another shows an angry-looking Cho holding a gun to his temple.
He refers to "martyrs like Eric and Dylan" _ a reference to the teenage killers in the Columbine High School massacre.