Virgina Tech University


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In from ROANOKE, Virginia, two days before the Virginia Tech massacre, witnesses saw a suspicious man in a hooded sweat shirt and the doors of the building where Seung Hui Cho killed 30 people were chained shut, police said Friday.

Virginia State Police Superintendent Steve Flaherty said “it was speculation” to suggest the attack was rehearsed.

Cho Seung Hui chained the doors of Norris Hall before his rampage there, but investigators said they had no indication he was the person who had chained the exits the first time.

“It would be speculation to suggest that he was practicing locking the doors,” State Police Superintendent Col. Steve Flaherty said in the first update on the investigation in months.

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Cho, a mentally disturbed student, killed 29 students and faculty members at Norris Hall after fatally shooting two people in a dormitory April 16. He killed himself as police broke through the chained doors of Norris Hall.

Authorities have yet to find evidence linking Cho to any of his victims, nothing suggesting he had an accomplice and nothing to clear up his motive.

“Why West Ambler-Johnston? Why Emily Hilscher? We don’t know,” Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said. Hilscher was one of Cho’s first victims, shot to death in her West Ambler-Johnston dormitory.

Since the dormitory was locked early that morning, “we believe Cho waited for some unsuspecting individual to walk in or out of West Ambler-Johnston and then took the opportunity to enter the dorm,” Flinchum said.

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Investigators have not found the hard drive to Cho’s computers, Flaherty said.

“That’s a piece of evidence we would love to find, along with his cell phone and possibly some other documents,” he said.

A state panel that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine appointed to look into the shootings the worst in modern U.S. history, is expected to issue a report next month.
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Thank you AP News
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It might not have been rehersed but it was plannned out.

I will never forget the day that President Kennedy was killed, 911 or this horrific action.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Bright daughter, brooding son:

The enigma in the Cho household…Silent and withdrawn boy was eclipsed by his sister in a culture emphasizing male success. But no one expected what was to come.

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In CENTREVILLE, VA. The three-story beige town house on Truitt Farm Drive stands as the Cho family’s symbol of middle-class success, precisely what they were searching for when they left a dank basement apartment and a life of struggle in South Korea 15 years ago.

But the dream house is empty now, abandoned by a family on the run, not from the law but from a world seeking some sort of explanation.

Like millions of other immigrant families, Sung-tae Cho and his wife, Hyang-im, struggled to speak English, worked grueling hours and made countless sacrifices to lift their young family upward.

Out of that tough and potentially scarring experience came two very different children: a scholarly, idealistic daughter who graduated from an Ivy League university and a friendless, brooding son who retreated into a dark world of his own and committed the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

Seung-hui Cho’s rampage at Virginia Tech Monday killed 32 teachers and students and wounded more than two dozen others. It also left the Korean American community and the rest of the world to wonder what went so horribly wrong. Family members have offered few answers, speaking only to the FBI for the first few days and then saying in a emotional statement Friday that they felt “hopeless, helpless and lost.”

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No one can know what went through Cho Seung Hui’s mind as he prepared and carried out his grisly acts. But there are clues.

Cho Seung Hui , 23, grew up on a quiet cul-de-sac where neighbors waved a friendly hello, but would later say they hardly knew he existed. He attended a mostly white high school that installed round tables in the lunchroom to encourage students to interact, but Cho Seung Hui barely spoke a word. And he was raised in a South Korean family and culture that so values boys his mother once told her employer that she wished her son had attended Princeton instead of her daughter.

Asian immigrants tend to emphasize education and success, and by all accounts, the Chos were no exception. From a South Korean immigrant’s perspective, said Edward T. Chang, professor of ethnic studies at UC Riverside and an immigrant himself, you are either a success or a failure.

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“There is no middle ground.”

Poor, rural roots

Cho Seung Hui ‘s parents have always struggled to make ends meet.

Sung-tae Cho, the killer’s father, came from a poor rural area. He was a “country bumpkin” and considerably older than his wife, the daughter of a refugee, said Seung-hui Cho’s great-aunt, Kim Yang-soon. “We practically forced her to get married.”

Hyang-im’s father had fled south during the Korean War that separated the south from its communist northern neighbor, according to Korean news reports.

Sung-tae and Hyang-im Cho were ambitious and apparently educated because after they settled on the still semi-rural outskirts of Seoul, they bought a used-book store. One could make a decent living selling secondhand books in the 1970s, before South Korea’s economy began to boom. But one relative said the bookstore just eked out a profit.

To ease his family’s plight, Sung-tae Cho left his wife behind to be a laborer in the Middle East, working on oil fields and construction sites in Saudi Arabia for most of the 1980s.

Back home, his wife gave birth March 22, 1982, to their daughter, Sun-kyung. On Jan. 18, 1984, Seung-hui was born.

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For the first few years of Seung-hui Cho’s life, the family lived in a dark, damp basement apartment on a busy commercial street in Shinchang, a suburb of Seoul. They lived at the bottom of a three-story, red-brick home, and paid $150 a month, a bargain even then.

Cho Seung Hui attended an elementary school a short walk from his home. About 950 students attend today, about half the number when Cho was there. The cluster of three-story buildings frames a large, U-shaped dirt courtyard.

The school files contain only a single sheet of paper on Cho Seung Hui , showing he left the school in August 1992, at age 8, after partially completing second grade.

“We don’t know anything about that student,” said the vice principal, who refused to identify himself. “And I’d like to point out that he did not graduate from here.”

The young Cho Seung Hui left little impression on those he might have met. Sketchy recollections in the South Korean media all emphasize his shyness, a trait that would follow him throughout his life.

“He was a quiet, well-behaved boy,” said Lim Bong-ae, the family’s former landlady.

His grandfather and great-aunt, both in their 80s, still live in Seoul. Though they met Seung-hui only twice, and had not seen him for years when his face appeared on front pages and TV screens last week, they said they remembered him as a troubled boy uncomfortable with affection.

Kim Hyong-shik, his grandfather, recalled “a grandson who was so shy he didn’t even know how to run into my arms to be hugged.”

Cho Seung Hui ‘s great aunt, Kim Yang-soon, remembered a child who was quiet and strangely remote.

“He was docile and well behaved,” she said. “But his mother used to say he does not speak, that he only looked at her but did not reply to her. And that symptom got worse when they went to America. It was his mother’s greatest heartburning grief that her son did not talk.”

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But Cho Seung Hui ‘s future seemed bright. Members of the extended family lived in America. The father’s younger brother persuaded them to join him in the Washington, D.C., region, home to what is believed to be America’s third-largest South Korean population after Los Angeles and New York.

The Chos arrived in America in September 1992. Their early years were difficult. Apparently unable to afford the airfare, Cho’s mother did not return to Seoul for her mother’s funeral. She called her relatives in South Korea only on holidays and kept the calls short.

But by 1997, they had earned enough to buy a $145,000 town house on Truitt Farm Drive, one of scores of cookie-cutter developments in the area. They were so proud of their new home that they sent photos to loved ones in South Korea.

Silence in high school

People on the block are friendly from a distance, but rarely get to know one another. Neighbors say Cho Seung Hui ‘s mother would always smile. His father didn’t say much, though once, at his wife’s urging, he cleared the snow from a pregnant woman’s car. Most of the neighbors didn’t know the Chos had a son.

Cho Seung Hui graduated from Westfield High School in 2003. But there is no mention of him in that yearbook, not so much as a senior picture.

The high school, which opened in 2000, is stocked with high achievers. Newsweek magazine once ranked it among the 50 best public high schools in America. Its football team won the state championship the year Cho Seung Hui graduated. But with 1,600 students then, Cho was the odd boy who never spoke, former classmates recalled. He joined the science club but just sat there. He carried around an instrument that earned him the name “Trombone Boy.”

School officials went to some lengths to encourage students to interact. They put round tables in the lunchroom so no one would feel left out. The “Westfield Welcomers” club formed to help wallflowers and outcasts fit in. But none of it seemed to work for the lonely, acne-plagued boy in glasses who was so quiet that some wondered whether he could speak at all.

In an advanced-placement Spanish class, students made recordings to practice for final exams. The teacher brought the tapes in one day and the class begged to hear Cho Seung Hui ‘s.

“We wanted to know what his voice sounded like,” said Regan Wilder, a classmate of Cho’s from middle school through college.

“It was almost as if he was backed into a corner whenever you tried to talk to him,” said Patrick Song, a Virginia Tech classmate who took AP calculus with Cho Seung Hui as a Westfield senior. “You took it as like he just wants to be left alone.”

Luice Woo, another senior at Virginia Tech who was in Cho Seung Hui ‘s high school calculus class, said: “I thought he was … a recent immigrant who didn’t know English.”

At Virginia Tech, he was the same, though a search warrant revealed that he phoned his family nearly every Sunday night.

Indeed, the profane, rambling diatribe Cho Seung Hui recorded between the shootings, widely broadcast after he ended his rampage with a bullet to his head, may be the most the outside world has ever heard him say.

Sibling differences

While her brother tried to disappear at Westfield High, Sun-kyung Cho was soaring. She’d had offers from Harvard and Princeton and chose the latter because the scholarship was better.

By junior year, Sun, as she came to be called, had developed an interest in global economics. She traveled on an internship to the Thailand-Myanmar border to see factory conditions in a developing country.

The experience was transforming. “They were the most amazing three months of my life,” Sun Cho told the Princeton Weekly Bulletin. The experience launched her career with a firm that works with the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office.

Her college social life was as rich as her brother’s was barren. As a member of a dining co-op, she took turns shopping and cooking for 25 people. For nearly two years, Alan Oquendo ate meals with her almost every night. He remembers “a very humble person,” a deeply spiritual woman who did not smoke or drink and wore little makeup. She worked at the college library and spent much of her spare time at prayer meetings and Friday night Bible studies with the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship.

She refrained from pushing her faith, but would discuss it after dinner with a few close friends. “That would be the only time she would talk about it,” Oquendo said. “She was a very tolerant person.”

It was Sun Cho, 25, who spoke Friday for her distraught family, issuing a statement that broke four days of silence:

“We are humbled by this darkness…. This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn’t know this person,” she said. “He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare.”

Daily struggles

The pressures to succeed were intense.

Seung-hui Cho’s father pressed pants six days a week at a dry cleaner in Manassas, Va., west of Washington. Cho’s mother worked at another Korean-run dry-cleaning business in nearby Haymarket.

She pressed men’s suit jackets from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week, a small woman maneuvering between hisses of steam and lines of hanging laundry.

“I knew life was hard for her,” said Susana Yang, owner of the dry cleaner. “Her health was not good, and her husband suffered from a back problem.”

Hyang-im Cho finally quit because her arm hurt too much.

“The only time she ever asked for time off from work was to attend her daughter’s graduation from Princeton and to take her son to Virginia Tech,” recalled her employer.

Yang described Hyang-im Cho Seung Hui as diligent and polite, utterly devoted to her children. “She was so proud of her daughter,” she said. But, according to Yang, Hyang-im also said, “I wish it had been my son who was graduating from Princeton instead of my daughter.”

Perhaps it was just South Korea’s Confucian-steeped culture, where parents often expect boys to be more successful than girls.

Seung-hui Cho’s mother never discussed her son with Yang. “Whatever burdens she carried, she kept them to herself.”

Yang believes neither parent worked after 2004 because of poor health. When she first heard the identity of the Virginia Tech shooter, she did not immediately connect the name. Then she saw the pictures.

“In the two smiling photos of him in the car, I caught glimpses of Mrs. Cho,” she said. “How can this be? I don’t have words to describe the pain the family must be going through.”

Indeed, rumors spread quickly among South Koreans worldwide that Cho’s father had committed suicide and his mother had overdosed on pills.

The rumors were false. But In-suk Baik, president of the Korean-American Assn. of Northern Virginia, paid a visit to Seung-hui Cho’s uncle in Edgewater, Md. Baik assured him that Americans wouldn’t blame the Korean community for the massacre.

“Because of their upbringing, Korean parents blame themselves for everything that goes wrong with their children,” Baik said. “But in America, people say, ‘Not me.’ ”

Family reclusion

Though America’s South Korean American community can be insular, the Chos seemed unusually reclusive. They did not regularly attend church, a center of social activity and networking for many immigrants.

Even more important is the cultural emphasis on education and success. Failures are often viewed as dishonorable.

“Our life is governed by chae-myon, what other people think about us,” said Tong S. Suhr, a Korean American attorney and an unofficial historian of Los Angeles’ Koreatown. “Consulting someone outside the family is admitting that you can’t handle it. It is shameful. So we keep everything to ourselves.”

Chang, of UC Riverside, offered a darker view of the Cho Seung Hui family dynamic.

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“The sister epitomized the immigrant success story, while the brother represented its failure,” he said. “Cho Seung Hui was nerdy. Students made fun of him. He was a psycho who needed help. His parents and friends failed in that regard.

Society failed too.”
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Thanks to the Times staff writers Wally Roche and Richard B. Schmitt in Washington; Adam Schreck in Blacksburg, Va.; Bruce Wallace and special correspondent Jinna Park in Seoul; and researcher Hugh McCarthy in Blacksburg, Va., who contributed to this report.
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What a shame so many lives were touch by tragedy…never to be forgotten.

But the tormented never think of others, only of their dark thoughts. They minds are lost.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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In BLACKSBURG, Va., like the people of New York, Oklahoma City and Littleton, Colo., the Virginia Tech community faces a difficult decision on what it will do with the scene of a tragedy.

The classrooms and hallways of the school’s Norris Hall were littered with the bodies of 25 students and five professors on April 16, plus the body of gunman Seung-Hui Cho.

Student Brian Skipper wonders how anyone can ever be expected to learn in Norris Hall again.

“I won’t go back in that building,” says the 21-year-old junior from Yorktown, who lost five friends in Norris, including his faculty adviser, G.V. Longanathan. “I couldn’t see people returning in there and just going back to normal.”

Two other students were slain in a campus dormitory.

The university has made no plans beyond cleaning and repairing the flat-roofed, oblong stone structure, which has remained under police guard since the killing spree.

However, faculty, students and alumni have already weighed in with suggestions for Norris’ future, one of more than 100 buildings on Virginia Tech’s 2,600-acre campus. Built in the early 1960s, it houses the department of engineering science and mechanics.

Ideas for the building’s future range from returning it to use as classrooms to making it a memorial or even knocking it down.

There are examples around the nation of how others have dealt with sites of overnight infamy.

Every evening, the University of Texas at Austin illuminates the clock tower where sniper Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th floor and killed 16 and wounded 31 on Aug. 1, 1966.

Before the attack, the 307-foot tower had been a symbol of the school for three decades. Its observation deck reopened a year after Whitman’s attack, but it was closed again in 1974 after four people jumped to their deaths. Tours are now available by reservation only.

Most of the killings in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., occurred in the library. Officials built an atrium on the site and placed a new library that includes a memorial to the 12 students and one teacher killed by two student shooters.

The bombed-out Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was razed after Timothy McVeigh set off explosives that killed 168 people on April 19, 1995. The 3-acre site was turned over to a museum and memorial.

In Dallas, the first five floors of the Texas School Book Depository hold government offices, but there is a museum on the sixth floor — where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

At ground zero in lower Manhattan, New York City is building new office towers and a memorial to the 2,749 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers.

At Virginia Tech, Norris Hall is still surrounded by chain-link fencing topped by yellow police tape, distinguishing it from the other buildings made from the same locally quarried rusty gray “Hokie” limestone. Several second-floor windows are open, their glass shattered by Cho’s bullets and by students who jumped to escape the gunfire.

The decision on Norris Hall’s fate is ultimately up to Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, said university spokesman Mark Owczarski.

An online petition has received more than 20,000 signatures in support of renaming Norris for engineering professor Liviu Librescu, who enabled students to jump to safety by blocking his classroom door with his body until Cho shot him. Librescu, 76, was a Holocaust survivor who had taught at the school for 20 years.

“I felt that something needed to be done to commemorate this brave man,” Justin Kozuch, a web designer in Toronto who started the petition, said in an e-mail.

The building now is named for Earle Bertram Norris, who was engineering dean from 1928 to 1952.

Russell Harris, a sophomore engineering major, said in a letter to the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, that the building should become a memorial.

“To demolish it would let our fears win and give evil more power,” he wrote.

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Thank you Sue Lindsey and Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau and Allen G. Breed who contributed to this report.
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What do you think they should do Baby Boomers???

I think it is a worthless piece of property right now.

I think they should plow it down, start anew and make a beautiful altrium in the middle of it as a memorial.

That is a horrible thing that happened there. It will never be the same…save the bricks and the foundation but revamp it into a hall and Memorial.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Investigators are examining the computer and cell phone of the woman believed to have been the first victim of the Virginia Tech massacre, as well as an eBay account the gunman may have used.Police are trying to determine whether there was any link between Emily Hilscher, 19, and the shooter, Cho Seung Hui, according to a search warrant.

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Emily Hilscher and Ryan Christopher Clark were both killed in West Ambler Johnston dormitory, apparently Cho’s first stop before heading to Norris Hall, where he killed 30 people and himself.

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In late 2005, two female students at Virginia Tech complained to police that Cho had been harassing them, although neither pursued charges against him.

Investigators are also seeking records related to an e-mail and eBay account that may have been used by Cho, a source close to the investigation said.

The account being checked was used last month to buy magazine clips that would fit one of the handguns used by Cho in his shooting rampage. While eBay prohibits the sale of ammunition in its online auctions, certain gun accessories — including the magazines that hold bullets — are allowed.

A CNN check of eBay transaction records online showed that the account that investigators are examining — Blazers5505 — was used in numerous transactions over the past several months.

Those included the March 22 purchase of two empty, 10-round magazines for a Walther P22 handgun from a company in Rigby, Idaho, that sells hunting and shooting supplies.

Authorities have said one of the two handguns used by Cho was a Walther P22 pistol. The owner of JND Pawn shop in Blacksburg, across the street from Virginia Tech, has said Cho picked up such a gun from his shop on February 9 after ordering it online a week earlier from an out-of-state dealer.

Investigators have said Cho’s other pistol was a 9mm Glock pistol he bought along with 50 rounds of ammunition from Roanoke Firearms for $571 last month.

CNN has not been able to confirm that Blazers5505 was Cho’s account, but eBay profile information — also now taken offline — showed the user being in Blacksburg, Virginia. Investigators cited the Blazers5505 account and a Blazers5505 Hotmail e-mail account in their affidavit, the source said.

The eBay transaction information also showed that Blazers5505 made an eBay purchase from a hunting supplies store on March 23.

The user also sold several items in recent months, eBay listings showed. Blazers5505 sold several books, CDs and a Texas Instruments calculator — a T1-83 loaded with games.

Additionally, the user sold 2006 Peach Bowl tickets for $182.50. The football game in Atlanta, Georgia, was a matchup between Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia.

Police have also filed warrants looking for records from Cho’s cell phone, The Associated Press reported.

“Seung-Hui Cho is known to have communicated by cellular telephone and may have communicated with others concerning his plans to carry out attacks,” the affidavit said, according to the AP.

Fund honors engineering victims

Witnesses said Cho, a 23-year-old English major from Centreville, Virginia, was calm and quiet as he methodically slaughtered fellow students and professors, who were found in four classrooms and a stairwell at Norris Hall.

The building is closed for the rest of the school year while the investigation continues.

A special fund was set up Saturday in honor of civil and environmental engineering students killed at Norris Hall. Eight students in the department were killed, along with three engineering professors.

“In these dark times we must positively move forward in ways that will honor the memory and the lives of our colleagues,” said William Knocke, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, in a written statement.

The fund will provide scholarships and fellowships for students, and create special programs, learning opportunities and outreach efforts within the civil engineering profession, Knocke said.

“In doing so we will focus not only on technical issues but also the qualities that uphold and uplift the positive human spirit that so characterized those whom we have lost.” (Read more about the fundexternal link)

Cho’s family apologized Friday for the devastation he caused in the shooting rampage.

“He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare,” his sister, Sun-Kyung Cho, said in a written statement issued on behalf of her family in their first public comments about the shooting. (Read more about the family’s statement)

Tech president: ‘Take care of one another’

Funerals for several victims were held on Saturday, including services for Clark in Martinez, Georgia, and fellow student Jarrett Lane in Narrows, Virginia. (Watch a community mourning — and starting to move on Video)

A contingent of Virginia Tech marching band members played and sang haunting melodies at Clark’s funeral.

Many spoke of the sense of humor and generosity displayed by Clark, 22, who was a a band officer and resident adviser in West Ambler Johnston dormitory.

“His smile was his trademark wherever he went,” one speaker told the crowd in the gym of Lakeside High School, from which Clark graduated.

Meanwhile, classes at Virginia Tech are scheduled to resume on Monday, and school President Charles Steger on Saturday urged students and faculty to “take care of one another.”

In an e-mail to faculty, staff and students, he praised their ability to pull together following the killings.

“We have demonstrated that we are not going to allow the tragic events of this last week to divide or define us,” he wrote.

Students were given the option of withdrawing or taking their current grades without finishing the term. Those interviewed have overwhelmingly said they plan to return to class at Virginia Tech.

“I just want to get back to normal and forget about Cho and just get back to the normality of going to school, finishing work and just living as a Hokie,” said Karan Grewal, who shared a dorm with Cho for nine months prior to the shootings.

“We all need a sense of normalcy, of routine back,” said student Tricia Sangalang. “This our first step to moving forward.” (Watch shaken students say why they’re returning Video)

In a sign of life slowly moving toward the routine, the first athletic event since the massacre was held Friday evening on campus, when Virginia Tech and the University of Miami took the field for a baseball game.

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I look at Ryan and Emily and think how could he have continued his life after he took theirs…Life at its cruelest and harshest momments is still precious.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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The gunman who carried out the massacre at Virginia Tech fired more than 170 rounds in nine minutes and died with a bullet to his head in a classroom surrounded by his victims, authorities said Wednesday.

Police provided new details about the case at a news conference on the campus of Virginia Tech.

They said Cho Seung Hui had chained shut three public entrances in the building where he killed 30 students and teachers. Two other victims were gunned down two hours early at a dormitory across campus.

State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty and Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchem addressed a news conference Wednesday.

Flaherty reiterated what he had told The Associated Press in an interview a day earlier: computer files, cell phone records and e-mails have yielded no evidence about what triggered Seung-Hui Cho’s massacre and how he chose his 32 victims.

Authorities say they have no link between the 23-year-old loner and his victims.

“We certainly don’t have any one motive that we are pursuing at this particular time, or that we have been able to pull together and formulate,” Flaherty said Tuesday. “It’s frustrating because it’s so personal, because we see the families and see the communities suffering, and we see they want answers.”

Flaherty spoke to the AP after spending the day in meetings with investigators to prepare for Wednesday’s news conference.

Flaherty, who is overseeing the investigative team looking at the shootings, said police also have been unable to answer one of the case’s most vexing questions: Why the spree began at the West Ambler Johnston dorm, and why 18-year-old freshman Emily Hilscher was the first victim.

Police have searched Hilscher’s e-mails and phone records looking for a link. While Flaherty would not discuss exactly what police found, he said neither Cho’s nor Hilscher’s records have revealed a connection.

Flaherty said there was also no link to 22-year-old senior Ryan Clark, who was also killed at the dorm. Nor do investigators know why Cho, an English major, selected Norris Hall a building that is home primarily to engineering offices to culminate his attack. Cho Hueng Hui killed 30 people there before taking his own life.

Frustrating their effort, Flaherty said, is the fact that Cho revealed himself to so few people. Even family members have said they rarely heard him speak.

“I guess the thing that is most startling to me, I say startling, surprising, is a young man who’s 23 years old, that’s been here for a while, that seemed to not know anybody,” he said.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine met with Korean-American leaders to assure them that Virginians do not hold people of Korean descent responsible for the tragedy. Cho Seung Hui was a South Korean immigrant who came to the U.S. at about age 8 and was raised in suburban Washington.

“I can assure you that no one in Virginia no one in Virginia views the Korean community as culpable in this incident in the least degree,” Kaine said.

He said state officials will watch for any reprisals against Korean Americans but that none have been reported.

The Virginia Korean leaders asked Kaine to boost mental-health funding for immigrants and their families.

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Thank you Associated Press for this information.
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I do not blame the Korean Community for what happened on Virginia Techs University’s Campus.

That would be insane as well. There has been enough insanity.
It is now a time for healing and forgiving.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Thousands of Virginia Tech students and faculty filled the center of campus Monday to pay solemn tribute to the victims of last week’s massacre listening quietly as a bell tolled for the dead on the day classes resumed at the grief-stricken school.

An antique 850-pound brass bell was installed on a limestone rostrum for the occasion, and 33 white balloons were released in memory of the 32 victims and the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho. About 1,000 balloons in Virginia Tech colors maroon and orange were also set free.

“I’ve been back with my friends, but I don’t know how it’s going to feel, seeing the empty seats in the classroom, noticing the people who aren’t here anymore,” said David Patton, a 19-year-old freshman who was friends with two victims. “I’m wondering where they are now, if they are in heaven, and when I’ll see them again.”

As classes resumed Monday, counselors and university staff were dispatched throughout campus, wearing special name tags and armbands to indicate they were there to help. University officials said they have seen a range of emotions among the students.

“We are seeing the resolute, the angry, the confused, and the numb,” said Ed Spencer, the associate vice president of student affairs.

Officials said class attendance averaged about 75 percent, and between 85 percent and 90 percent of students are still living in their dorms. The university also said that the rampage has dissuaded few prospective students from wanting to attend Virginia Tech.

“We got 12,848 offers of admissions, so far we’ve heard from five who’ve indicated those offers will be declined as a result of this,” said school spokesman Larry Hincker.

Officials are also seeing many signs that things were returning to normal. “The same students who sit in the last row are still nodding off in class,” Mark McNamee, the Virginia Tech provost.

Another painful question is how to proceed with the classes where students and professors were murdered last week. Officials said students and department heads gathered to talk about how to go forward for the remainder of the semester.

A week after the shootings, the campus was covered with memorials and tributes, including flowers, writings and candles.

The memorial bell rang at 9:45 a.m., around the time when Cho killed 30 students and faculty members in a classroom building before committing suicide. The tribute lasted 11 minutes, as the bell rang for each of the victims and Cho.

“It’s only been a week, but it seems so long ago,” said Marc Hamel, 43, a political science student. “Getting back into class is really going to help.”

As the crowd broke up, people started to chant, “Let’s Go Hokies” several times.

A moment of silence was also observed at about 7:15 a.m., near the dormitory where Cho’s first victims, Ryan Clark and Emily Hilscher, were killed.

Afterward, a group of students and campus ministers brought 33 white prayer flags from the dorm to the school’s War Memorial Chapel. They placed the flags in front of the campus landmark and adorned them with pastel-colored ribbons as the Beatles’ song “The Long and Winding Road” played through loudspeakers.

“You could choose to either be sad, or cheer up a little and continue the regular routine,” said student Juan Carlos Ugarte, 22. “Right now, I think all of us need to cheer up.”

Ugarte, a senior from Bolivia, wrote a message on a yellow ribbon for one of the victims, Reema Samaha. “God will forever be with you. I will always pray for you, and remember.”

Andy Koch, a former roommate of the gunman, was among the many students who remembered the shooting Monday. “Last night, I didn’t sleep much,” he said.

On the main campus lawn stood a semicircle of stones 33 chunks of locally quarried limestone to remember each of the dead.

Someone left a laminated letter at Cho’s stone, along with a lit purple candle.

“Cho, you greatly underestimated our strength, courage and compassion. You have broken our hearts, but you have not broken our spirits. We are stronger and prouder than ever. I have never been more proud to be a Hokie. Love, in the end, will always prevail. Erin J.”

Virginia Tech is allowing students to drop classes without penalty or to accept their current grades if they want to spend the rest of the year at their parents’ homes grieving last week’s campus massacre.

But whatever decisions they make academically, many students say they will do their mourning on campus — and that they can’t imagine staying away now.

Students began returning to campus as police continued their investigation. State Police investigators still had not connected Cho to his victims but were reviewing data, including Cho’s computer files, looking for such a connection.

“We’re going back to the hard drives,” State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. “They’re still in the processing and analysis stage.”

Police have pulled from the university server all e-mails to and from Cho, as well as e-mails to and from Hilscher, the first victim, according to court documents filed Monday. Police also recovered other e-mail logs and Cho’s personal cell phone records.

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Associated Press Writers Vicki Smith, Allen G. Breed, Adam Geller, Matt Apuzzo and Sue Lindsey contributed to this report.
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I don’t know if there is anyone from Virginia Tech University that reads my blog…but I just want to tell you how proud I am of you and how I admire your strenght, courage and fortitude!

After seeing the faces of your comrades whose lives were lost…I know that there was not one amounst them, that would not have wanted you to spend a mommnet more of greif, than you had too.

Time is a great healer…too bad that Cho Seung Hui did not understand that…perhaps he could have been saved along with all of the others that he took with him.

I will never understand his reasoning or choice…perhaps he just didn’t want to die alone…

May God’s speed heal your hearts and minds of this tragedy.

Sincerely,
Sharon Sutley
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Colin Goddard was mere inches from killer Cho Seung Hui during Monday’s massacre, and he heard the gunman end his own life after killing at least 30 people, Goddard’s mother said.

After bullets had been fired all around him inside a classroom at Norris Hall, Goddard, a 21-year-old international studies major, played dead as the killer stood over him, said his mother, Ann Goddard. She told her wounded son’s story Wednesday as he underwent surgery.

Goddard’s ordeal began during French class, when he and fellow students first heard gunfire coming from a hallway, his mother said.

Professor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak told her students to dial 911, just seconds before Cho entered the room and sprayed bullets, wounding Colin in the leg. Cho “went first through one row of desks and started shooting just randomly,” Ann Goddard said.

Cho then left the classroom, she said, and returned minutes later.

Colin lay on the classroom floor, playing dead. He “turned his head and actually saw the shooter’s shoes come right up next to his body,” Ann Goddard said. “The shooter was standing right next to him.”

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Her son was “absolutely scared to death,” she said. “He kept his wits about him, but he was scared to death.”

The gunman again shot Colin, hitting him in the shoulder and buttocks. Then he walked to the front of the classroom, she said.

Two gunshots were followed by silence.

Police broke that silence as they stormed the room, shouting, “shooter down! black tag!” Goddard said, which apparently are code words indicating deaths at the scene.

Police checked bodies throughout the classroom, she said. Couture-Nowak did not survive.

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As surgeons worked to heal her son, Goddard said she didn’t want the ordeal to become “the defining moment in my son’s life.”

Instead, she wants his defining moment “to be something positive, some great celebration of his life.”

Colin, whose surgery was successful, was among the nine wounded who remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon.

Three victims of Monday’s campus shooting spree were discharged Thursday.

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One patient discharged had been recovering at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in nearby Salem, Virginia, a hospital official told CNN. There are no more patients at that hospital.

Two other patients were discharged from Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg, leaving six there three men and three women, all listed as “stable,” according to hospital CEO Scott Hill.

“I can’t speak enough to the strength of these students,” Hill said. “They’re really working hard to recover.”

Two patients who suffered gunshot wounds were listed in good condition Thursday at New River Valley Hospital near Radford, officials told CNN.

At Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, one patient remained in serious condition with gunshot wounds. A tenth hospitalized victim who had been treated at Roanoke was transferred Wednesday to another hospital, spokesman Eric Earnhart said. He declined to identify the hospital, citing a request for confidentiality from the patient’s family.

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Slain students to receive degrees
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s provost announced Thursday that the university will award the students killed in Monday’s rampage with posthumous degrees.

“The families are very happy about this, and we are actually going to award those degrees during the regular commencement exercises that the students would have participated in with their friends,” said Mark McNamee, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The university’s scheduled commencement date is May 11.

McNamee also said university officials are working to provide current students choices about how they wish to complete the semester.

“We’re going to encourage them strongly to continue in their classes, to get as much out of the learning process as they possibly can, but also to do it in the context of what they’re capable of handling under the current circumstances,” he said.

One possibility is that students could take a grade for the work they’ve done so far in class and not complete the semester.

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Reading about this young mans ordeal…I had to remind myself that he was one of the lucky ones!

I pray that he remembers that as well.

I hope all hurts emotionally and physically will heal quickly.

World, peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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