There were more anxious moments on the jittery Virginia Tech campus as of April 18, 2007, just two days after the mass shooting occurred. University police say someone telephoned a threat against the school’s president. Police in SWAT gear rushed to his office, but the threat proved unfounded.
Also this morning we learned the suspect in the shooting deaths of 32 students on Monday, had previous run-ins with the law.
Seung-Hui Cho was no stranger to Virginia Tech Police. On multiple occasions in late 2005, officers talked to Cho after female students complained about being harassed with text messages and other contact. One acquaintance even warned police that Cho was suicidal.
“Out of concern for Cho, officers ask him to speak with a counselor. He went voluntarily to the police department,” said Wendell Flinchum, Virginia Tech Police chief.
Based on that interaction with that counselor, a temporary detention order was obtained and Cho was taken to the metal health facility.
Cho’s roommates say he often obsessed about women and classmates claim he would take inappropriate cell phone pictures of girls during lecture. His dark and twisted writings so unnerved his English tutor that she worked out a code with her assistant to call security if she mentioned a specific word. Still, Virginia Tech administrators said their hands were tied.
“They said he’s not going to kill someone. My argument is he seemed so disturbed anyway, we need to do something about this,” Cho’s tutor, Lucinda Roy said.
In the days leading up to the shootings, Cho’s roommates said his behavior, which was strange to begin with, became even more unpredictable.
“He started getting up a lot earlier. Throughout the year he would get up at maybe 7:00 a.m. or so, but the past couple weeks he got up at like 6:00 a.m. or 5: 30 a.m. even,” roommate, Joseph Aust said.
Police said despite the multiple complaints filed against Cho, there was nothing in his record to prevent him from buying a gun.