Virginia Tech shooter was senior from South Korea

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The Post-Gazette's Chico Harlan reports from the Virginia Tech campus:
An eerie calm pervades the campus
The shooter's motive is still unknown

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Police at Virginia Tech today announced the identity of the person suspected of shooting and killing at least 30 people on campus yesterday.

As more details of the rampage began coming out, students and other members of the university community gathered for an afternoon convocation at the Cassell Coliseum, which President Bush is to attend.

Chief Wendell Flinchum said the suspected shooter was Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a South Korea native and resident of Virginia who was a senior in the English department. He lived in a campus dorm.

One of Mr. Cho's former professors said some of his writings for a creative writing class were so disturbing that he was referred to counseling.

Police said they have recovered 9mm and .22-caliber weapons and said they have determined that one of those guns was used at both the dormitory where two killings took place and a classroom building where the remaining 30 slayings took place.

They also said there is no evidence to link yesterday's rampage to a series of recent bomb threats.

"At this time, the evidence does not conclusively identify Cho Seung-Hui as the gunman at both locations," said Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, at a morning news conference. But he added that, based on what they know now, that would be a reasonable assumption. Police are still trying to get more information on the dormitory shootings.

There is no evidence Mr. Cho, whom they described as a loner, had an accomplice. Police said, however, that they are continuing to investigate whether Mr. Cho was helped by someone.

Police also briefly addressed the question of a man they had called a "person of interest." The man had had a friendship with a woman who was one of two people slain in the West Ambler Johnston dorm. Police said they had caught up with the man, who is not a student, off campus yesterday morning. They were questioning him when the second round of shootings occurred at Norris Hall. Survivors there described a man matching Mr. Cho's description.

Officials also said the identities of the dead, most of them students, would not be released until all were identified and families notified.

Classes were canceled for the rest of the week, and school officials said Norris Hall would be kept closed for the remainder of the semester.

Mr. Cho apparently committed suicide, taking the death total to 33.

At Harper Hall, the dorm where Mr. Cho lived, none of the students talked to today said they recognized him. They said law enforcement agents went through the dorm last night showing the suspect's picture and looking for people who might have known him.

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were attending a memorial convocation this afternoon at the school colisuem, which sits less than 40 yards from the dorm where the first shootings took place.

Separate lines stretching at least a mile from each of the two main entrances had formed by noon. Many in line were students wearing orange and maroon VT clothing.


More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.



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