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S Korean Student 'Is Mass Killer'
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A fourth-year student from South Korea was behind the massacre of 30 people locked inside a Virginia Tech campus building in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history. Ballistics tests also found that one of the guns used in that attack was also used in a shooting two hours earlier at a dorm that left two people dead, Virginia State Police said on Tuesday.

Police identified the shooter as Cho Seung-hui, 23, a senior in the university's English department who lived on campus. Authorities said he was a legal resident of the United States. Cho committed suicide after the attacks, and there was no indication on Tuesday of any possible motive.

News reports said Cho may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic and that he left a note in his dormitory in which he railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus.
The Chicago Tribune newspaper reported on its website that Cho left a note in his dorm room that included a rambling list of grievances. Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune said he had recently shown troubling signs, including setting a fire in a dorm room and stalking some women.

ABC, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the note, several pages long, explains Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this."

Investigators believe Cho at some point had been taking medication for depression, the newspaper reported.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled".

She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws.

"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."

"He was a loner," school spokesman Larry Hincker said.

Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cho's fingerprints were found on the guns used in the shootings. The serial numbers on the two weapons had been filed off, the officials said.

One law enforcement official said Cho was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol.

Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said it was reasonable to assume that Cho was the shooter in both attacks but that link was not yet definitive.

A memorial service was planned at the university later Tuesday, and President George W. Bush planned to attend, the White House said. Governor Tim Kaine was flying back to Virginia from Tokyo for the 2 PM (2 AM today, Beijing time) ceremony.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry also expressed its condolences, saying there was no known motive for the shootings and that South Korea hoped the tragedy would not "stir up racial prejudice or confrontation".

"We are in shock beyond description," said Cho Byung-se, a ministry official handling North American affairs. "We convey deep condolences to victims, families and the American people."

He said Cho had been in the United States from a young age, but no further specifics were given.

Also on Tuesday Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a letter of condolence to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the shooting rampage at the Virginia Tech University.

Li condemned the violent act and said that he was "shocked" by the shootings.

He expressed "deepest condolences" to the victims and "sincere solicitude" to the US government and its people, especially the injured and the family members of the victims.
(China Daily via agencies April 18, 2007)

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