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Killer attacks from grave

Blacksburg (Virginia), April 19 (AP): Even from the grave, the man blamed for the worst killing spree in modern US history unleashed another assault at Virginia Tech, delivering in videos mailed to a television network a snarling, profanity-laced tirade about rich “brats” and their “hedonistic needs”.

In self-made videos Cho Seung-Hui mailed to NBC in the middle of the killings of 32 people at the university, he repeats himself, again and again, saying the killings could have been prevented and that he was carrying out the shootings for “the weak and the defenceless”. The network aired some of the videos yesterday and others today.

“This is it,” he says in one video. “This is where it all ends. End of the road. What a life it was. Some life.”

Cho, 23, speaks in a harsh monotone in other videotaped rants, but it is not clear to whom he is speaking. “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today,” he says in one, with a snarl on his lips. “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.”

The package, which NBC said contained a rambling and often incoherent 23-page written statement, 28 video clips and 43 photos, was given to the state police, but contained little that they did not already know, Colonel Steve Flaherty said today.

Flaherty said he was disappointed that NBC decided to broadcast parts of it. “I just hate that a lot of people not used to seeing that type of image had to see it,” he said.

On NBC’s Today show today, host Meredith Vieira said the decision to air the information “was not taken lightly”. Some victims’ relatives cancelled their plans to speak with NBC because they were upset over the airing of the images, she said.

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 fulfil your hedonistic needs. You had everything.”

Authorities yesterday disclosed that more than a year before the massacre, Cho had been accused of sending unwanted messages to two women and was taken to a psychiatric hospital on a magistrate’s order. 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 demeanour had disturbed professors and students so much that he was removed from one English class and was repeatedly urged to get counselling.

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.

NBC News president Steve Capus said the package was sent by overnight delivery but apparently had the wrong postal code and was not opened until yesterday, NBC said.

An alert postal employee brought the package to NBC’s attention after noticing the Blacksburg return address and a name similar to the words reportedly found scrawled in red ink on Cho’s arm after the bloodbath, “Ismail Ax”, NBC said.

Capus said that the network notified the FBI around noon, but held off reporting on it at the FBI's request. It was clear Cho videotaped himself, Capus said, because he could be seen leaning in to shut off the camera. However, police they have not inspected the footage and have yet to establish exactly when the images were made.

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