Cho Seung-Hui had a history of violent incidents and wrote disturbing papers, say school officials

April 17, 2007 01:45 PM

Details are emerging in the background of Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old suspect in the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead and others hospitalized.

On Tuesday, authorities identified as a senior undergraduate English major at the school, where officials have said that Cho’s creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school’s counseling service, the Associated Press reports.

“He was a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” school spokesman Larry Hincker said Tuesday. Police and university officials, however, could not provide any reason for why he might have been responsible for the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

Still, the Chicago Tribune reports that Cho was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a rambling note in his on-campus dormitory room in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” at school. The paper, on its Web site, also said he recently set a fire in a dorm room and stalked some women.

Arriving in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992, Cho was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., officials said. At Virginia Tech, he lived on campus, but not in the dorm where Monday’s first shooting occurred.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department, told the AP that while she did not personally know Cho, she did speak with Lucinda Roy, the department’s director of creative writing and a teacher of his, who described Cho as “troubled.”

“There was some concern about him,” Rude said. “Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it’s creative or if they’re describing things, if they’re imagining things or just how real it might be. But we’re all alert to not ignore things like this.”

She also said Cho was referred to the counseling service, though she did not know when or what, if any, had been the result. Citing privacy laws, Rude refused to reveal any samples of his writings or his grades.

CNN Video on the Virgina Tech massacre:
A student’s quick thinking saves lives
Why weren’t students warned sooner?
Timeline of a tragedy
Eyewitness: Gunman entered classroom

See CNN’s complete coverage of the tragedy

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