Posted by: L | April 26, 2007

V-Tech: Cho – Important early conflicts in reports- 5/1

I am trying to keep track of early reporting.

Update: This article from April 17th night (the day after)

talks about the NY Times and Washington Post reporting on two notes – one next to the body and one in the dorm, but also says that the police so far have found no suicide note – after they just went through the dorm. Now, of course, there is a suicide note, only it’s not entirely sure where it was found. That’s besides the bomb threat note next to Cho. Quite the author. Video clips, photos, web posting, manifestos, 1 or more bomb threat notes, 8-page confessional, a suicide note…

Here is the most significant divergence I can find. Chen is the Chinese student whose interview seems to have been the source of the early report that the gunman had been shot in the back of the head which had blown apart his face and also of the report that the first killing had been sparked by jealousy. Here there is also Steger’s comment that two gunmen had been involved and that the two incidents were unrelated.

Here is a blog post that suggests evidence for a second shooter. The evidence that is cited could be interpreted otherwise. Some of the discrepancies are likely due to confusion. The only parts that are strong are the alleged statement of the last survivor in the room that the shooter ran away, the nature of the wounds Cho received (not confirmed), differences observed between the video Cho and the photo we have, the tightness of the schedule of events that day, and a statement that Cho was seen with 3 Americans in the days preceding (no confirming report). Also the killer was not descibed having a backpack. whereas Cho’s was found in the hall. This is easily explained. Cho simply put his book bag down before shooting. This Richmond Times article also contradicts the theory as it states that Cho was shot in the temple. Here is another report. This also describes a single shot to the head that left the face unrecognizable. But it says nothing about Cho bringing a book bag, whereas this one says he had a ruck sack with knives and the ammo as well as chains I suppose. Another report also contends that he did not have books with him. I don’t know if this was just the reporter’s inference or whether it was based on an eyewitness account.

In any case, Cho did not seem to have classes in Norris. The Richmond Times account also describes Cho having had two speeding tickets (not one, as later reports have stated) and photographing the women’s basketball team (he was reportedly an avid basketball player). It also describes his routine in the previous days — that he had been getting up earlier and earlier. I am not sure if it is Grewal who pulled the all-nighter that Sunday or Cho. Cho is descibed as taking his usual medication in the bathroom, though what medication is not specified. He is also described elsewhere as applying acne medicine. We learn from the report that according to the time stamp on the video, parts of it were shot (probably in his room) at around 7: 45 just after the shooting. Yet, his roommates do no recall him remembering to Harper. The packet was received at the post office just after 9 and he entered Norris at 9:15 it seems.

At this point, it just seems like the usual confusion when a story breaks, but I am keeping note of the changes.

1. Cho was first reported as being Chinese and here is a report that he was 6 ft and in a boy scout outfit – tan vest and black jacket. No book bag carried. This report also says 6 ft. Cho was actually 5 ft. 8″ – much smaller. That could be confusion of course.Here’s an article in the Chicago Sun Times with hat information. This is reportedly the google cache of the original story which is now off the web. It appears to have caused a flurry in the Chinese media and some speculation on how or why the mistake was made. There is also a theory that I saw posted on a Korean blog, which includes more details of the crime scene, and speculates that Cho was killed himself and had an accomplice. It says he was killed with 1 shot to the back of the head and 2 to the chest (haven’t seen this elsewhere), that the real killer was 6 ft and was seen running away (that is supported by other early reports that describe 2 shooters either running away or being apprehended. It also compares Columbine where 3 guns, 2 shooters and 900 bullets were involved in the death of 13 people and notes Cho’s remarkable performance as incompatible with what we know of his firearm skill.

2. He was first reported as having had a relationship with Emily Hilscher, later denied.

3. There was also the early report about his obsession with Counterstrike, subsequently denied by a suite mate.

4. A report on the package – clarifies what the number 43 referred to – the photos. 28 (or 29) seems to be the number of the video clips.

It contained an 1,800-word diatribe and 43 photos, 11 of them showing Cho aiming handguns at the camera. He also sent 28 video clips.

5. Cho described in later reports as laughing after each shot…but early witness reports that he was impassive.

6. The chains with which he locked three entrances to Norris Hall (the number was from later reports) are not from Home Depot has reported.

7. I haven’t seen any correction of the reporting of this as the worst school shooting, which it is not.

8. This is a report of the second time CIA recruiters visited the campus in 2005, Nov 16. Students were planning a teach in to protest the visit because of the news of the CIA torture policies just then published in the Washington Post (including the outsourcing of torture). No evidence linking Cho to the visit or the teach in though. Cho’s behavior however had been sullen and/or mean prior to the recruitment visit, from the testimony of teachers that fall.

Just in case, it’s pulled, here it is:

CIA recruiting at Virginia Tech

The Truth Will Set You Free
Tuesday April 17, 2007

“The single shooter was unusally effective at killing, almost as if he had been trained to do so.” –mparent7777

From November 2005 . . .
For the second time this year, the Central Intelligence Agency will be coming to Virginia Tech to recruit students.

And for the second time this year, they will be met with protests from students who view the CIA as an immoral organization that engages in torture and murder.

Nicholas Kiersey organized a protest last spring when the CIA came to campus. He released the following statement Monday about the CIA’s trip to Torgeson 3100 Thursday at 7 p.m.:

“Blacksburg, VA November 13, 2005 – A coalition of concerned graduate students and campus organizations at Virginia Tech are this Thursday staging a ‘teach in’ to protest CIA recruitment on campus. Planned events also include the protest of a ‘career information’ session to be held by the CIA later that evening.

On November 2nd, 2005 the Washington Post published an article entitled “CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons”. The article reported that the CIA has set up a covert network of secret prisons and interrogation centers, known as “black sites”, in several countries around the world, including several democracies in Eastern Europe and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Prisoners at these facilities are held indefinitely and often in isolation, without due process of the law. Moreover, CIA interrogators working at these sites are permitted to use the CIA’s approved “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. Among the tactics approved for use are “waterboarding”, intended to induce in prisoners the idea that they are drowning.

While intelligence officials defend the unrestricted operation of these sites as necessary for the successful defense of the country, it should be noted that both the sites and the suspected practices carried out at them would be illegal if operated within the USA, which is a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Importantly, the same is true for the democratic host states in Eastern Europe where some of these sites are located.

The ‘Teach In’ will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17, 5-6.30pm, in Torgerson 3100. The event will feature talks by Virginia Tech instructors and the presentation of a draft letter to President Steger’s office, signed by a number of concerned Virginia Tech faculty and students.

The letter will request that Virginia Tech place a moratorium on all CIA activities on Virginia Tech’s campus until such time as a thorough and independent investigation certifies that the organization has been thoroughly reformed and no longer engages in practices that contravene international law and basic standards of human rights.

The CIA’s scheduled ‘career information’ session will take place at 7pm in the same location.

Sponsoring campus organizations include: The International Club and Amnesty International at Virginia Tech.”

Lucinda Roy, a co-director of the creative writing program at Virginia Tech, taught Cho in a poetry class in fall of 2005 and later worked with him one-on-one after she became concerned about his behavior and themes in his writings.

Roy spoke outside her home Tuesday afternoon, saying that there was nothing explicit in Cho’s writings, but that threats were there under the surface.

Roy told ABC News that Cho seemed “extraordinarily lonely–the loneliest person I have ever met in my life.” She said he wore sunglasses indoors, with a cap pulled low over his eyes. He whispered, took 20 seconds to answer questions, and took cellphone pictures of her in class. Roy said she was concerned for her safety when she met with him.”

Note that Cho accordint to this never spoke above whispers..many of his suite mates had never heard him speak. He is said to have had a form of autism or speech impediment. But yet, he spoke clearly on the videotape and the psychologist made no mention on his evaluation of a speech problem.

Here are the plays that Cho wrote in ?? that were posted

One play attributed to him, called “Richard McBeef,” describes a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia, and ends with the boy’s death.

In another, called “Mr. Brownstone,” three high-school students face an abusive teacher.

“I wanna kill him,” says one character.

“I wanna watch him bleed like the way he made us kids bleed,” says another.

The two plays were posted on AOL after a staffer named Ian MacFarlane, a December 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech, brought them to his editors’ attention.

MacFarlane said he was in a class with Cho in which students were required to post their plays online for peer review and comment.” ( so that places the plays also in the fall of 2005)

My Comment: If something caused this much rage (assuming this is not just imagination or fantasy at work)

why were Cho’s earlier creative efforts (he must have taken creative writing in high school or something earlier in college) not filled with stuff like this? Could the triggering event have occurred in 2005?

Under Virginia law, state residents can only buy one handgun in any 30-day period, suggesting Cho bought his second weapon after April 13 or sometime over the weekend.

“He clearly spent some time figuring out how he was going to take care of business once classes began on Monday morning,” said Garrett.

The date of the first gun purchase will likely serve as the time of “some triggering mechanism that was very important” to Cho said Garrett, an expert on profiling murderers.

Also, information that Cho’s uncle was a contractor to the state department.

More contradictions in the archives of the Salem news

Here’s the original explanation:

When he was asked why students weren’t alerted to the imminent danger from a man with a gun, he said, “They had reason to believe the shooter had left the campus.”

Now, they say, the campus was too big, they were afraid people would run into the shooter and what if he had gone into his dorm room anyway.

Sadly, many of the students failed to see the email and as a consequence, walked into the gunman’s line of fire. Many are saying that the school should have closed immediately, and that they were far from prepared for this kind of a situation. That, in spite of a shooting on the campus on the first day of the school year and the recent bomb threats.

These are the emails that were sent to student from the University:

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 9:26 AM
To: Multiple recipients
Subject: Shooting on campus.

A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning.

Police are on the scene and are investigating.

The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case. Contact Virginia Tech Police at XXX – XXXX

Stay attuned to the We will post as soon as we have more information.

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 9:50 AM
To: Multiple recipients
Subject: PLease stay put

A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows

Subject: PLease stay put

A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:17 AM
To: Multiple recipients
Subject: All Classes Canceled; Stay where you are

Virginia Tech has canceled all classes. Those on campus are asked to remain where there are, lock their doors and stay away from windows. Persons off campus are asked not to come to campus.

Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:53 AM
To: Multiple recipients
Subject: Second Shooting Reported; Police have one gunman in custody

In addition to an earlier shooting today in West Ambler Johnston, there has been a multiple shooting with multiple victims in Norris Hall.

Police and EMS are on the scene.

Police have one shooter in custody and as part of routine police procedure, they continue to search for a second shooter.

All people in university buildings are required to stay inside until further notice.

All entrances to campus are closed.

They first thought it was Morva:

Media outlets are reporting the name of the accused gunman as William Morva. Again, there are conflicting reports at this time, but most indicate that the gunman is dead.


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