Police: Cho Stalked 2 Women In 2005

In this undated photo released by the Virginia State Police, Cho Seung-Hui is shown. Seung-Hui, 23, of South Korea, is identified by police as the gunman suspected in the massacre that left 33 people dead at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. (AP Photo/Virginia State Police) AP Photo/Virginia State Police

Two women students had complained in 2005 to campus police about Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old gunman who this week shot and killed 32 other people at Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

According to Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Finchum, in November of 2005, he made contact with a female student through telephone calls and in person. The student called it "annoying" but declined to press charges.

In December 2005, Cho, an English major, sent instant messages to a second woman. He made no threats, Finchum said, but the student complained. Officers spoke to him at that time.

An acquaintance of Cho later contacted authorities concerned he might be suicidal, reports CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick. It was at that point he was taken to a mental health facility, not connected with the university, and later released.

Neither of the two women who complained about Cho in 2005 was among Monday's victims.

Cho's creative writing also disturbed his fellow teachers and some of his instructors.

In one of the plays he wrote, "there was a character where the father raped the son and the son was going to get back at him by killing him. And it became very brutal and graphic, and vulgar with the language, Sara Stevens, a Virginia Tech junior, said on CBS News' The Early Show (). "And there was another play about how he was going to get revenge on a teacher who had given him low marks."

But police and university officials offered no clues as to exactly what set off Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old senior, on the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

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

"I had classes with him for three years, and he was known as being expressionless. He usually sat in class and I never heard him speak once in three years," Stevens, a former CBS intern, told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Click here for an interactive gallery of the victims.

Other classmates say that on the first day of a British literature class last year, students took turns introducing themselves. When it was Cho Seung-Hui's turn to speak, he said nothing.

The professor then looked at the sign-in sheet, and noticed that Cho had written a question mark instead of his name. The professor asked, "Is your name 'question mark?'" A classmate, Julie Poole, says Cho offered little response.

She says he then spent much of the class sitting in the back of the room, wearing a hat and seldom participating.

Poole says, "We just really knew him as the 'question-mark kid.'"

"He made me so nervous," Stevens said.

"I saw some poetry and he seemed to be very angry," Lucinda Roy, the English department's director of creative writing, said on The Early Show.

"I didn't feel that the students felt safe. They expressed to their faculty member some discomfort. And she said that she wasn't comfortable teaching him anymore," Roy said, so she tutored him herself.

She notified the university's counseling service and police department about Cho's behavior.

"They were very concerned, and their response was immediate in terms of trying to help. And then they seemed to hit a wall where there are all these legal issues," Roy said. "So unless he'd issued an actual threat, I was told he never said he was going to do harm to himself or someone else in an explicit way."

"We certainly are always sensitive to the issue of potential violence. It is very difficult to predict when what someone perceives as stalking is stalking, and then how it might translate into violence later. In general that's a very difficult thing to predict," Dr. Chris Flynn, director of the school's Cook Counseling Center, said at a news conference Wednesday. "Clearly if anyone had any warning about a violent incident, people would have stepped in and acted.:

Roy said she tried to get Cho to go to counseling voluntarily, but he resisted. News reports said that Cho may have been taking medication for depression.

"It was very strange. If you were to say something to him, it would take him about 10 to 20 seconds to say anything back, so there would be a long, long pause. And then when he did speak, he spoke only in a whisper, so you'd have to lean in to hear what he was saying," Roy added.
  • Sean Alfano

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