Student gunman sent 'disturbing' mail to NBC
The gunman who went on a deadly rampage at Virginia Tech university this week paused between shootings to mail a rambling account of grievances to NBC.world Updated: Apr 19, 2007 04:40 IST
The gunman who went on a deadly rampage at Virginia Tech university this week paused between shootings to mail a rambling account of grievances to NBC, the network said on Wednesday.
The network turned over the material, which arrived on Wednesday and included video, photographs and a multi-page statement, to the FBI. Virginia Police Superintendent Steve Flaherty said the development could be a "very critical component of this investigation."
The new details added to an already chilling portrait of Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old student from South Korea who massacred 32 people and then took his own life on Monday in the bloodiest shooting spree in modern US history.
In the latest bizarre twist, NBC said the material appeared to have been sent sometime between Cho's killing of two people in a dormitory and his attack two hours later on a classroom building where he cut down 30 more people.
NBC officials would not disclose the contents of the material pending the FBI's review, except to say it was "disturbing."
The dispatch of the package to NBC was confirmed by Flaherty, who told reporters: "Earlier today NBC News in New York received correspondence that we believe was from Cho."
The disclosure followed word from university police that Cho had been accused of stalking women students and was taken to a psychiatric hospital in 2005 because of worries he was suicidal.
Still grieving for the victims, students and teachers have described a sullen loner whose creative writings for his English literature degree were so laced with violence and venom that they alarmed some of those around him.
University Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said his officers confronted Cho in late 2005 after two women complained separately that he had harassed them in person, through phone calls and with instant messages.
"I'm not saying they were threats; I'm saying they were annoying," Flinchum told a news conference at the sprawling rural campus in southwestern Virginia.
After the second incident in December 2005, Cho's roommate warned police he might be suicidal, prompting them to issue a "temporary detention order" and send him to a nearby mental health facility for evaluation, Flinchum said.
Officials would not say how long Cho stayed at the facility, but roommates said he was gone for a couple of days. The women declined to file charges against Cho. Neither was among his victims on Monday, police said.
First Published: Apr 19, 2007 04:20 IST