VIRGINIA TECH KILLER AT COLLEGE
'Looking Back . . . We Should Have Done Something'
Sunday, April 22, 2007
"Question Mark" was getting to be an aggravation.
The whole thing with the imaginary girlfriend, Jelly, the supermodel he'd say he was making out with in his locked room. The weird faceless picture he posted on Facebook that was supposed to be him.
The scary lines from Shakespeare he scrawled on a girl's dorm door. The phone call where he said he was on vacation with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. His claim that he lived in room 666 of Cochrane Hall, which has only five floors.
The sunglasses. The buzz haircuts he gave himself in his room. The calls to his roommates in which he pretended he was somebody named "Question Mark," and they all knew it was Seung.
Andy Koch was fed up with his roommate, Seung Hui Cho, he recalled yesterday in a telephone interview from Blacksburg. "Who does this?" Koch said to himself.
In the four months before the Virginia Tech mass murderer was briefly committed to a psychiatric clinic in December 2005, his bizarre conduct unfolded in the usually innocent world of Facebook, laptops and dorm-door erase boards.
Amid the social whirl and the all-nighters and the classes, Cho first began to strike people as not quite right.
Koch, 21, has emerged as among the first to alert school authorities about Cho. Since Cho's rampage, he has replayed the events of 2005 over and over, wondering if he might have done more.
"They were little incidents that none of them could be added up at anything," he said. "But now looking back on it, we should have done something."
Koch, then a sophomore management major from Richmond, said he and two friends roomed with Cho in fall 2005 in an eight-person suite. A friend of Koch's, John Eide, roomed with Cho.
Koch said Cho was dropped off at the start of school with little family fanfare. "Just a shy and quiet kid," he said.
Cho first got their attention at a frat party that September. Students were standing around, drinking beers and catching up.