Virginia Tech killer identified - UPDATE

By: ABC/Associated Press
By: ABC/Associated Press

Police have yet to find a motive, one day after a student at Virginia Tech University went on the worst shooting spree in U.S. history.

The killer slayed 32 people, mostly his fellow students, before killing himself.

The suspect left behind many other questions, but for the first time we can put a name and a face on his crimes.

According to investigators, the staggering death toll was likely wrought by a single gunman.

"That person is Cho Sung Hui. He was a 23-year-old South Korean here in the United States as a resident alien," said Wendell Flinchum, Virginia Tech police chief.

Police said Cho, an undergraduate English major whose parents live in Centreville, Va., was identified through fingerprints found on the deceased suspect at Norris Hall, where 30 students and faculty members were killed.

Two handguns were recovered at the scene and ballistics tests confirm one of them as a 9mm handgun. Law enforcement sources also told ABC news that Cho allegedly returned to his dorm room to reload his weapons during the two and a half hours between the two shootings.

"It's certainly reasonable for us to assume that Cho was the shooter in both places, but we don't have the evidence to take us there at this point and time," said Steven Flaherty of the Virginia State Police.

Those who were inside Norris Hall describe an attack that was sudden, random and relentless. Cho allegedly roamed the halls, firing into classrooms as terrified students hid under desks and attempted to barricade themselves.

"We went up and put a table in front of the door and students were holding the table against the door so he couldn't get in," said one VT student. "He tried to shoulder his way in, and when that didn't work he ended putting two bullets through the door."

Cho is described as an English major whose professors found his writing so disturbing, they referred him to the school's counseling service. The chairwoman of the English Department said the creative-writing teacher described Cho as "troubled" and that "there was some concern about him." She also said the teacher didn't know if Cho was being creative in his writings or describing real things.

And there's more. The Chicago Tribune reports that the senior left a note in his dorm room with a rambling list of grievances. In the note, he reportedly railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus.

According to ABC, law enforcement sources said the note was several pages long, and that it explained the gunman's actions. It reportedly says, "You caused me to do this."

Reports also said he may have been taking medication for depression, and that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic.

Virginia Tech has canceled classes for the rest of the wee and Norris Hall will be closed for the remainder of the semester.

A campus memorial service is scheduled for this afternoon at Virginia Tech. The president and first lady are expected to attend.


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