Posted at 06:40 PM ET, 04/18/2007
NBC News Airs Video, Images From Cho
NBC just aired video and images sent to the news organization by Cho Seung Hui, the Va. Tech gunman, after the first shooting at a campus dormitory, and before the killing of 30 people at an academic building.
"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," Cho says on one of the videos. "But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."
Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 04/18/2007
April 16, 2007: A Detailed Reconstruction
"April 16, 2007.
In the Monday morning darkness, another school week at Virginia Tech was about to dawn. Cho Seung Hui pulled a stocking cap over his head, and set out from his dorm on his way to kill 32 students and teachers and then himself in the bloodiest mass murder by a lone gunman in American history. "
In Thursday's Washington Post, David Maraniss tells the story of that day, from its mundane beginnings, to the bursts of gunfire that brought on the unthinkable, cutting short promising lives and haunting those who survived. The narrative is based on scores of interviews with witnesses, the wounded, rescuers, and friends and families of the victims.
Posted at 05:26 PM ET, 04/18/2007
NBC Says It Received Mail From Cho
The big news to break just now out of the latest Virginia Tech press conference is that NBC News has turned over to law enforcement a communication it received from Cho Seung Hui, the student who killed 32 people and himself on Monday.
NBC News said it received "a long and rambling communication and video about his grievances," according to a story on MSNBC.com. The network said it had turned the material over to the FBI, and would not disclose more specifics, pending the bureau's review. According to the Associated Press, the "package was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus."
MSNBC said that Cho had sent the package to NBC sometime after the two killings in the dormitory on Monday morning, but before the shootings in the Norris Hall classroom building. Authorities have said there was a break of roughly two hours between the two. More from the AP: "The package included digital images of him holding weapons and a manifesto that 'rants against rich people and warns that he wants to get even,' according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case. MSNBC said that the package included a CD-ROM on which Cho read his manifesto."
In his blog on MSNBC.com, anchor Brian Williams said Cho sent a "multimedia manifesto" to the network. Williams: "We are still going over our own copy -- its a lot of material -- we are talking with law enforcement, our own standards people -- and Pete Williams, our Justice Correspondent, will join me live on the broadcast to go through the material."
Virginia State Police superintendent Colonel Steve Flaherty said at the news conference that the package received by NBC "may be a very new, critical component of this investigation."
Stay tuned for updates.
Posted at 04:38 PM ET, 04/18/2007
Gov. Kaine Designates Friday as Day of Mourning
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) today declared Friday, April 20, 2007, a statewide day of mourning for the victims of Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech.
"On Friday, Governor Kaine will participate in an interfaith prayer service in Monroe Park on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He has encouraged other communities in Virginia and across the nation to hold their own simultaneous ceremonies and participate in prayer services, beginning with the ringing of bells at noon, eastern daylight savings time," according to a statement on the governor's official Web site.
Posted at 03:54 PM ET, 04/18/2007
University of Minn. Evacuated After Bomb Threat
A bomb threat has prompted the evacuation of seven buildings at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus, according to the Associated Press.
The incident is the latest in a string of of perceived threats that have rattled universities around the country in the wake of the Va. Tech shootings.
The AP also reports that a University of Colorado student was arrested after making comments that classmates deemed sympathetic toward Cho, authorities said.
At the University of Minnesota, a professor found a note that included a bomb threat against several campus buildings. All classes and meetings in the evacuated buildings were canceled for the day.
In Colorado, the student was arrested after he "made comments about understanding how someone could kill 32 people," during a class discussion of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech, university police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said.
Several witnesses told investigators the student said he was "angry about all kinds of things from the fluorescent light bulbs to the unpainted walls, and it made him angry enough to kill people," according to a police report. Witnesses "said they were afraid of him and afraid to come to class with him," Wiesley said.
The student, identified by police as Max Karson of Denver, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of interfering with staff, faculty or students of an education institution. He had a court appearance set for Wednesday afternoon.
His father, Michael Karson, told the Camera newspaper that the comments may have been misinterpreted and questioned whether his son's free speech rights had been violated.
Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 04/18/2007
Police Seek Gunman's Medical Records
The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting that law enforcement officials are trying to obtain copies of Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung Hui's medical records.
The Post's Jerry Markon reports that authorities were searching a mental health facility in Blacksburg where Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung Hui was once taken, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed today in Montgomery County circuit court.
The affidavit, signed by Virginia State Police special agent Joe D. Diamond, said the search would take place at New River Community Services at 700 University City Blvd. in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech campus police records show that Cho was taken to New River, but the affidavit does not say when. Investigators are searching for "medical records, including associated mental health records of Seung Hui Cho."
"It is reasonable to believe that the medical records may provide evidence of motive, intent and design of Seung Hui Cho," the affidavit said.
Earlier this morning, authorities revealed that Cho was detained at a mental health facility on Dec. 13, 2005. Virginia Tech police said at a news briefing this morning that they believed that Cho was taken on that day to a facility called St. Albans near Blacksburg after an acquaintance of Cho's called police and said Cho might be suicidal. It was unclear whether the 2005 mental health detention was related to Cho's detention at New River described in this morning's affidavit.
Authorities also revealed today what was seized in their search of Cho's residence at 2121 Harper Hall in Blacksburg. The search warrant, filed late Tuesday in Montgomery County circuit court, said the items taken included a "folding knife and combination pad lock," a Compaq computer, various documents and writings from Cho's desktop computer, nine books and two notebooks from a shelf.
Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 04/18/2007
Three Vigils Planned in N. Virginia Tonight
At least three vigils for victims of the Virginia Tech shootings are scheduled in the Northern Virginia region today.
7:30 p.m.: Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region holds a public candlelight vigil. Alexandria City Hall, 301 King St., Alexandria, Va.
7:30 p.m.: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Faith Communities in Action holds a gathering to allow the community to grieve and celebrate the lives of the victims. Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy., Fairfax, Va.
8 p.m.: The National Capital Region Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association honors the victims of the April 16 shootings. St. Francis Episcopal Church, 9920 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, Va.
If you know of other local events, please post the information in the comments section below.
Posted at 12:47 PM ET, 04/18/2007
Five More Victims Named
The Post's Paul Duggan has learned that Waleed Shaalan, 32, an Egyptian national, is among the dead, according to The Egyptian Embassy. Shaalan was studying for doctoral degree in engineering at Virginia Tech.
The Associated Press has named four additional victims:
Matthew G. Gwaltney, 24, of Chester, Va., a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, according to his father and stepmother, Greg and Linda Gwaltney.
Minal Panchal, 26, a first-year building-science student from Mumbai, India, according to foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna.
Julia Pryde, age unknown, a graduate student from Middletown, N.J., according to Virginia Tech professor Saied Mostaghimi, chairman of the biological systems and engineering department.
Maxine Turner, 22, a senior majoring in chemical engineering from Vienna, Va., according to her father, Paul Turner.
Posted at 10:52 AM ET, 04/18/2007
Va. Tech: Campus Police Had Contact With Cho in 2005
The Post's Debbi Wilgoren has filed an update based on the news from this morning's press conference at Virginia Tech:
"The 23-year-old Centreville man who killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech Monday was questioned by campus police twice in late 2005 after female students complained he was harassing them, then sent to an outside mental health facility for evaluation, police said this morning."
Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 04/18/2007
Korean Paper Reports on Cho's Family Background
The Associated Press, summarizing a report in a South Korean newspaper, reported that the "family of the gunman in the Virginia Tech shootings struggled while living in South Korea and emigrated to the U.S. to seek a better life, a newspaper reported Wednesday. ...
"South Korea's largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that Cho's family was poor when they lived in a Seoul suburb and decided to emigrate to seek a better life.
"The family lived in a rented, basement apartment -- usually the cheapest unit in a multi-apartment building, the newspaper reported quoting building owner Lim Bong-ae, 67. Police identified the shooter's father as Cho Seong-tae, 61."
Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 04/18/2007
Kaine Names Former State Police Superintendent to Lead Probe
The Virginia governor has asked former state police superintendent Gerald Massengill to lead the independent review of law enforcement's response to Monday's shooting and Virginia Tech's handling of the troubled student. "We've got to get all the answers to these questions," Kaine said this morning on CNN. "The individual circumstances about the shooting and the response are all on the table for this panel to look at."