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Killer's Note: 'You Caused Me to Do This'

Cho Seung-Hui, 23-Year-Old Student, Identified as Gunman

ABC News | April 17, 2007
Seung Hui Cho

Law enforcement officials have provided this official photo of Cho Seung-hui, the man they identify as the killer at Virginia Tech. Cho was a 23-year-old student of Korean descent who lived on campus. Sources tell ABC News he was carrying a backpack with a receipt for the purchase of a 9 mm handgun.

April 17, 2007 - Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, left a long and "disturbing" note in his dorm room at Virginia Tech, say law enforcement sources.

Sources have now described the note, which runs several pages, as beginning in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. It contains rhetoric explaining Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this," the sources told ABC News.

Sources say Cho, 23, killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left the note, then went to a classroom building on the other side of campus. There, he killed 30 more people in four classrooms before shooting himself in the head.

Cho, born in South Korea, was a legal resident alien of the United States. He was a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in English.

Watch today's convocation at Virginia Tech on ABC News Now at 2 p.m. Full coverage continues on "World News With Charles Gibson," and an ABC network special Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT

Sources tell ABC News Cho bought his first gun, a Glock 9 millimeter handgun, on March 13; they say he bought his second weapon, a .22 caliber pistol, within the last week. The serial numbers on both guns had been filed off, they said.

Authorities found the receipt for the 9 millimeter handgun in Cho's backpack. They say the bag also contained two knives and additional ammunition for the two guns.

Legal permanent resident aliens may purchase firearms in the state of Virginia. A resident alien must, however, provide additional identification to prove he or she is a resident of the state.

Sections of chain similar to those used to lock the main doors at Norris Hall, the site of the second shooting that left 31 dead, were also found inside a Virginia Tech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.

Positive Fingerprint Match

Cho's identity has been confirmed by matching fingerprints on the guns used in the rampage with his immigration records.

"Lab results confirm that one of the two weapons seized in Norris Hall was used in both shootings," Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

At this time, police are not looking for a second shooter, though they did not rule out the possibility that Cho could have had an accomplice.

Cho, according to law enforcement officials, had entered the country through Detroit with his family in 1992, at the age of eight. He last renewed his green card in 2003. As of yesterday, his home address was listed as Centreville, Va., and the university reported he was living in a campus dormitory, Harper Hall.

Cho's parents live in a townhouse development in Centreville, a suburb of Washington. They own a dry-cleaning shop nearby. Police searched their home last night. On Tuesday, no one was answering their door.

One neighbor, Marshall Main, describes Cho's parents as quiet and polite. Neither Main nor another neighbor recalled seeing the son in recent years.

Cho graduated from Westfield High School, a Fairfax County public school, in 2003.

"He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," said Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker.

Two-Hour Gap Between Shootings

Police say they believe Cho killed two people in West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory near his own, shortly after 7:00 a.m. Monday. Then, two hours later, he opened fire in Norris Hall, a classroom building across campus.

Reporters continued to ask today why administrators did not cancel classes after the first shooting, and why it took more than two hours to inform the university community via e-mail about the first incident. The first e-mail notifying students of the dorm shooting was not sent by the school until 9:24 a.m -- by which time the second shooting was already over.

According to President Charles Steger, the administration locked down West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But he said classes weren't canceled because the shooting was believed to be tied to a domestic dispute and campus police believed the shooter had left the campus.

Steger defended the school's response in an interview Tuesday with "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer, saying that they believed the first shooting was confined to the dormitory.

"The second shooting, no one predicted that was also going to happen that morning," Steger said. "So if you're talking about locking it down, what is it you're going to lock down? It's like closing a city. It doesn't happen simultaneously."

Steger also said he would not step down, and at Tuesday's press conference, John Marshall, secretary of public safety in Virginia, came to Steger's side.

"It's important we get this done, but more importantly, we must get this done right," Marshall said.

Police Monday stopped a car driven by a male "person of interest," an acquaintance of the female victim who had been in the dorm where the first shootings had occurred. They interviewed and released the driver, and police said that they will continue to look for him for information.

By Monday night, investigators also had ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide in the first dormitory shooting. Ryan "Stack" Clark, a member of the school's marching band, the Marching Virginians, and a student resident assistant, was killed there by a shot in the neck. The second victim in the dorm shooting was a female.

At Norris Hall, the gunman left a trail of bloodshed, which Flinchum, the Virginia Tech police chief, called "one of the worst things I've seen in my life."

Flinchum would not name any of the victims, but said that university staff members were among the dead.

There have been at least 15 shooting victims identified in press accounts, including four professors and 11 students. A state medical examiner Tuesday said the identification process could take several days to complete.

President Bush and the first lady will attend a convocation on the Virginia Tech campus at 2 p.m.

"Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary in learning," the President said Monday. "When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community."

No identification was found on Cho's body, police said. He apparently shot himself in the head after the killings; part of his face was missing when his body was found.

It is unknown at this time if his guns had standard or extended clips, which, depending on the weapon, can fire as many as 30 shots before the gun has to be reloaded.

No Confirmed Connection to Earlier Bomb Threats

Police today said they could not confirm that two separate bomb threats last week targeting Virginia Tech engineering buildings are connected to Monday's rampage.

The first of the two threats was directed at Torgersen Hall, a classroom and laboratory building, while the second was directed at multiple engineering buildings. Students and staff were evacuated, and the university sent out e-mails across campus, offering a $5,000 reward for information about the threats.

Virginia Tech -- formally known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- is located in the western end of the state near the borders of West Virginia and Tennessee. It has more than 25,000 full-time students. Its campus, which spreads over 2,600 acres, has more than 100 buildings.

The number of dead is almost twice as high as the previous record for a mass shooting on an American college campus. That took place at the University of Texas at Austin on Aug. 1, 1966, when a gunman named Charles Whitman opened fire from the 28th floor of a campus tower. Whitman killed 16 and injured 31.

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