The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scary past of Virginia killer
A stalker with mental history

Blacksburg (Virginia), April 18 (AP): The gunman involved in the deadliest shooting in modern US history had previously been accused of stalking two female students and had been taken to a mental health facility in 2005 after an acquaintance worried he might be suicidal, police said today.

Cho Seung-Hui worried one woman enough with his calls and email in 2005 that police were called, said university police chief Wendell Flinchum. He said the woman declined to press charges, and neither woman were among the victims of Monday’s massacre on the Virginia Tech campus. The gunman killed 32 people before fatally shooting himself.

During the second stalking incident, also in late 2005, the department received a call from an acquaintance of Cho’s who was concerned that he might be suicidal. As a result of that, Cho was taken to a mental health facility, Flinchum said.

About the same time, Cho’s professor informally shared some concerns about the young man’s writing, but no official report was filed, he said.

Flinchum said he knew of no other police incidents involving the South Korea-born Cho until the deadly shootings on Monday at a girl’s dormitory room and a classroom building across campus.

State police have said the same gun was used in both shootings, but they said today they still were not confident it was the same gunman.

Campus police today applied for search warrants for Cho’s medical records from the Schiffert Health Center on campus and New River Community Services in Blacksburg.

“It is reasonable to believe that the medical records may provide evidence of motive, intent and design,” investigators wrote. Police searched Cho’s dorm room yesterday and recovered, among other items, a chain and combination lock, according to documents filed today. The front doors of the classroom building, Norris Hall, had been chained shut from the inside during the shooting rampage.

Other items seized include a folding knife; two computers, a hard disk and other computer disks; documents, books, notebooks and other writings; a digital camera and CDs.

The US Congress planned to hold its first hearing on the shootings tomorrow, focusing on law enforcement resources needed to protect the US. Cho’s roommates and professors today described him as a troubled, very quiet young man who rarely spoke to his roommates or made eye contact.

His bizarre behaviour became even less predictable in recent weeks, roommates Joseph Aust and Karan Grewal said. Grewal last saw Cho at around 5 am on Monday.

“He didn’t look me in the eye. Same old thing. I left him alone,” He told CNN. Grewal said when he saw Cho that morning and during the weekend, the man did not smile, did not frown and did not show any signs of anger. Grewal also said he never saw any weapons.

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 Cho, a 23-year-old fourth-year student, may have been taking medication for depression and that he was becoming erratic.

Professors and classmates were alarmed by his class writings — pages filled with violence-drenched writing. “It was not bad poetry. It was intimidating,” poet Nikki Giovanni, one of his professors, told CNN today.

America and the world count the cost of gun culture

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