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Cho’s last hours with unsuspecting Indian

Washington, April 19: Karan Grewal, an Indian student at Virginia Tech, was probably the last person to see Cho Seung Hui alive before the Korean immigrant set out to murder 32 of his college mates and professors on Monday.

Grewal, 21, was one of six students who shared a three-bedroom suite, 2121, Harper Hall. The gunman who perpetrated the deadliest shooting in US history was also one of the six and he shared a room with the Indian.

There is a sense of shock at the university campus after Grewal revealed that no one warned him at any stage that teachers at Virginia Tech were concerned that Cho was dangerous or suicidal, despite his history of mental illness.

The suite, where police spent nearly 17 hours looking for evidence after the gunman was identified, is today a spot in the university which everyone wants to peek into. It is now littered with blue plastic gloves used by the police as they combed Cho’s belongings, most of which have been taken away. The police expect his computer to yield more clues about motives for Monday’s rampage.

The police have also interviewed Grewal and other students who live in suite 2121, but have gained little information since Cho shared little with his suite mates. He told them, for instance, that he was majoring in business at Virginia Tech, when, in fact, Cho was studying English literature.

According to Grewal, who is now a star attraction for reporters, Cho was so much of a loner that when a candidate for a student body was recently going round the dormitories offering candies and soliciting votes, he refused to talk to the visitor and turned his face away until the candidate had left the suite.

Grewal was awake close to dawn writing an accounting paper as part of his curriculum on the morning of Cho’s rampage. Just before Grewal was about to go to bed between 5 and 5.30 am, he went to the toilet and saw Cho in boxer shorts and a T-shirt wanting to use the toilet himself. It is presumed that the gunman was already preparing for what he would do later that morning.

Grewal saw him no more. He went to sleep and was woken up shortly before 10 am by the wail of sirens and a lot of movement on the campus.

According to accounts by Grewal and other students who shared Cho’s suite, the Korean student invariably ate his meals alone in the dining hall and rebuffed any attempts by them to befriend him. Cho spent a lot of time on his computer, downloading music, among other things, but at other times, he would simply sit at his desk staring into space.

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