The gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead was identified Tuesday as a English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school’s counseling service.
News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus.
Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old senior, arrived in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., officials said. He was living on campus in a different dorm from the one where Monday’s bloodbath began.
Police and university officials offered no clues as to exactly what set him off on the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.
“He was a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” school spokesman Larry Hincker said.
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.”
“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 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.
The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that he left a note in his dorm room that included a rambling list of grievances. Citing identified sources, the Tribune said he had recently shown troubling signs, including setting a fire in a dorm room and stalking some women.
Investigators believe Cho at some point had been taking medication for depression, the newspaper reported.
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