AP: Va. Gunman's Family Feels Hopeless

By ALLEN G. BREED and AARON BEARD
The Associated Press
Friday, April 20, 2007; 6:39 PM

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The family of Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho told The Associated Press on Friday that they feel "hopeless, helpless and lost," and "never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence."

"He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare," said a statement issued by Cho's sister, Sun-Kyung Cho, on the family's behalf.

It was the Chos' first public comment since the 23-year-old student killed 32 people and committed suicide Monday in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Raleigh, N.C., lawyer Wade Smith provided the statement to the AP after the Cho family reached out to him. Smith said the family would not answer any questions, and neither would he.

"Our family is so very sorry for my brother's unspeakable actions. It is a terrible tragedy for all of us," said Sun-Kyung Cho, a 2004 Princeton University graduate who works as a contractor for a State Department office that oversees American aid for Iraq.

"We pray for their families and loved ones who are experiencing so much excruciating grief. And we pray for those who were injured and for those whose lives are changed forever because of what they witnessed and experienced," she said. "Each of these people had so much love, talent and gifts to offer, and their lives were cut short by a horrible and senseless act."

The Chos' whereabouts are unclear. But Virginia State Police said they are under law enforcement protection.

The statement was issued during a statewide day of mourning for the victims. Silence fell across the Virginia Tech campus at noon and bells tolled in churches nationwide in memory of the victims.

"We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn't know this person," Cho's sister said. "We have always been a close, peaceful and loving family. My brother was quiet and reserved, yet struggled to fit in. We never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence."

She said her family will cooperate fully and "do whatever we can to help authorities understand why these senseless acts happened. We have many unanswered questions as well."

Wendy Adams, whose niece, Leslie Sherman, was killed in the massacre, said of the family's statement: "I'm not so generous to be able to forgive him for what he did. But I do feel for the family. I do feel sorry for them."

"I do believe they're living a nightmare," she added.


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