Those Closest to Cho Return to School

The Associated Press
Sunday, April 22, 2007; 6:23 PM

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- When Andy Koch last saw Seung-Hui Cho in a dining hall a week ago, his former suitemate pretended he didn't see him and simply walked the other way.

The next morning, Karan Grewal bumped into Cho _ in his underwear and a T-shirt _ on his way out of the bathroom they shared. Grewal had no idea how close he was to the presence of pure hatred.

The last time Sara Lichtenstein stepped foot in her dormitory, the sounds of sirens and gunshots were fresh in her memory.

They are among a handful of Virginia Tech students who passed within the orbit of the gunman or his victims in the last hours before his murderous assault. They have had a week now to reflect on the ominous warning signs that may have existed before Cho carried out his massacre.

For Grewal and Koch, a few of their bizarre interactions with Cho make more sense. But to them and others, Cho's actions remain as inexplicable as they were when the gunfire started echoing through campus a week ago.


Koch remembers taking Cho out to some parties at the start of the fall semester in 2005. He introduced Cho to friends, but the sullen roommate didn't say much. At one party, Cho did get tipsy enough that he opened up and began talking about his virtual love life.

He said he had an imaginary girlfriend named Jelly, and that she was "a supermodel that lived in space." Jelly had a nickname for Cho _ Spanky.

Once, Koch knocked on Cho's door looking for his roommate, John. The door was locked, and Seung wouldn't open it up.

"I'm in here with my girlfriend and we're making out," he said.

"Who says that kind of stuff?" the junior from Richmond asked.

Then there was the beer-pong game. It was down to the final shot, and it was Cho's turn to sink a ping-pong ball in a beer-filled cup from across a table. Cho stared down a cup of beer and nailed the shot with amazing accuracy.

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