18/04/2007

University gunman was 'disturbed loner'

The gunman who shot dead 32 people at a US college has been described as a loner, whose college work was "disturbing".

Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old from South Korea, who had been resident in the US since 1992, was an English student at Virginia Tech who lived on campus.

One of his teachers told reporters that Cho's creative writing was "disturbing" and it was reported that Cho had been referred for psychological counselling because of this.

It has also been confirmed that a letter was found in Cho's dormitory, in which he criticised rich students at the college and said: "You caused me to do this."

It later emerged that Cho had been evaluated at a mental health facility after being spoken to by the police after two female students made complaints about his behaviour.

It is understood that Cho's parents had also been concerned that he was suicidal.

The shootings occurred in two separate locations at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Monday. The first took place at 7:15am local time (12:15GMT) at the West Ambler Johnston dormitory, when a man and woman were shot.

The second shooting took place two hours later at several different classrooms in Norris Hall, about half a mile from the scene of the first shooting. Thirty people were killed there before Cho eventually killed himself.

According to reports, 28 people were admitted to hospital following the shootings, but they are all believed to be in a stable condition.

The motive for the killings is not yet known, although Cho is reported to have had a row with his girlfriend in a dormitory prior to the shootings.

Virginia Tech has been criticised by some students for its handling of the situation.

Some students complained that they received no warning of the danger on campus until two hours after the first shooting, which was also issued via email.

Some have said that the university should have been locked down immediately after the first shooting took place.

However, the university has defended its handling of the situation, saying that they believed that the first shooting was an isolated "domestic" incident.

Six of the victims have now been named. They are: Ryan Clark, Kevin Granata, Jamie Bishop, Emily Hilscher, Professor G.V. Loganathan and Professor Liviu Libresscu.

A memorial service was held at Virginia Tech on Tuesday evening. President Bush, who attended with his wife Laura, said that it was "a day of sorrow for the entire nation".

(KMcA/JM)


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