Communication With A Killer

On Feb. 2, Seung-Hui Cho bought a Walther .22 caliber pistol from the online retail store www.thegunsource.com. It was the first and only time he ever used this particular Web site. The CBS News Investigative Unit's Pia Malbran spoke with Web site owner Eric Thompson Thursday, and he shared all the e-mail exchanges his store had with Cho. The e-mails seem to indicate that Cho was eager about his new purchase and he wanted to make sure he was getting the latest model gun brand new.

Feb. 2:
1:41 p.m.

Cho places an order for the Walther P22 gun using his credit card and lists his parent's address as his home. He is charged $267.63. He buys no ammo.

2:41 p.m.
Cho sends an e-mail to the Web store. It reads: "The dealer that I chose don't fax their FFL, they only mail it, so I think I want my order put on hold and see if I can find another dealer."
(Note: FFL stands for Federal Firearms License.)

4:33 p.m.
An employee at www.thegunsource.com responds: "Seung, Ok, we will hold your order. Just call and update us."

8:52 p.m.
Cho sends another e-mail. It reads: "Is Walther P22, Product 10632, second generation? What year was the assembly date?"

Feb. 5
12:59 p.m.

An employee at www.thegunsource.com responds to Cho's earlier e-mail:
"All our firearms are the latest generation. We do not have access to actually assembly dates until one arrives from the respective manufacturer's distributor. We do not sell used firearms. It is possible, however unlikely that a distributor could have an older generation to push out before new. 99% of the time a model goes out of stock before the following generation is introduced."

On this same day, the gun was shipped to JND Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg, Va., where Cho picked up the gun two days later. The federally-licensed store then did a background check. Thompson says he is in a "state of disbelief" about what happened. To honor those who lost their lives, he has placed a link on his website to the Virginia Tech memorial fund. He made a donation and is encouraging everyone to do so as well.
  • Pia Malbran

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