The materials sent to NBC included a manifesto and videos of him ranting against the rich

By Stephen M. Silverman and Mike Fleeman
April 18, 2007 02:00 PM
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In between rampages, Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho took time to send NBC News a package of “very disturbing” and “profanity-laced” materials, including an angry manifesto, photos and a video of him expressing hatred toward the rich, a network official says.

The package added to the chilling portrait emerging of Cho as a brooding loner who frightened his teachers and classmates, behaved inappropriately with female students and told his roommates about his (imaginary) supermodel girlfriend.

He also purchased both firearms used in Monday’s shootings within the past 10 weeks, properly filling out all paperwork required for their possession, CNN reports.

According to a US Postal stamp, the package was mailed to NBC at some point after two people were killed in a dormitory but before the deaths of 30 more in a university building, NBC reports.

After NBC received the materials – bearing an incorrect and address and zip code – in Wednesday’s mail, the network turned them over to the FBI in New York, says NBC News President Steve Capus.

The package contained a “rambling, manifesto-like statement embedded with a series of photographs,” says Capus, who characterized the material as “hard-to-follow … disturbing, very disturbing – very angry, profanity-laced,” he said.

It also included 23 QuickTime video files of Cho talking about his hatred of the wealthy, Capus says.

University Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said at a news conference Wednesday that in November 2005 Cho was referred to a mental health facility after police officers responded to accusations that he was suicidal and sending inappropriate instant messages to a female student who, in turn, “declined to press charges and referred to Cho’s contact with her as annoying.”

Poet and author Nikki Giovanni, who taught Cho in fall 2005, described him as “mean” and told CNN that when she heard the news of the massacre, in which 33 people were killed, she instinctively knew that her 23-year-old former student was behind it. “I would have been shocked if it wasn’t [him],” she said.

Giovanni said that Cho’s poetry and demeanor were both so menacing that she wanted him out of the class and two students actually dropped the course because of him, later telling her, “He’s taking photographs of us. We don’t know what he’s doing.”

“I was willing to resign before I was going to continue with him. There was something mean about this boy,” Giovanni told CNN. “I know we’re talking about a troubled youngster and crap like that, but troubled youngsters get drunk and jump off buildings; troubled youngsters drink and drive. I’ve taught troubled youngsters. I’ve taught crazy people. It was the meanness that bothered me. It was a really mean streak.”

Giovanni then went to the department’s then-chairwoman, Lucinda Roy, who decided to tutor Cho one-on-one. She found his writing so disturbing that she alerted police. “The threats seemed to be underneath the surface,” she said. “They were not explicit and that was the difficulty the police had.”

Two of his roommates, who asked to be identified only as Andy and John, said Cho was so quiet, “he was just like a shadow,” according to Andy. They also said that after not speaking to them for a long period, he finally confided that he had a girlfriend, a supermodel, whom he called “Jelly,” while she called him “Spanky.”

In addition, one of Cho’s classmates, Ian McFarlane, said that plays written by Cho were so “twisted” that some students speculated that he “could be a school shooter.” (To read two of Cho’s plays, click here.)

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