Virginia Tech Gunman: Recollections

Virginia Tech student Karan Grewal, 21, of Falls Churcdh, Va., talks with reporters outside the Harris Hall dormitory on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Grewal was a roommate to Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman blamed for the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho's roommates and professors portrayed him as a creepy, solitary figure who rarely even made eye contact with his roommates, much less speak to them.

"I had no idea he was capable of this," roommate Karan Grewal said. "We were never told his teachers had concern about him committing suicide and all these dark feelings.

"We were never told that our suitemate was depressed or suicidal."



Professors and classmates were alarmed by his class writings — pages filled with twisted, violence-drenched writing.

"It was not bad poetry. It was intimidating," poet Nikki Giovanni, one of his professors, said in a broadcast interview.

"I know we're talking about a youngster, but troubled youngsters get drunk and jump off buildings," Giovanni said. "There was something mean about this boy. It was the meanness — I've taught troubled youngsters and crazy people — it was the meanness that bothered me. It was a really mean streak."

Giovanni said her students were so unnerved by Cho's behavior, including taking pictures of them with his cell phone, that some stopped coming to class and she had security check on her room. She eventually had him taken out of her class, after threatening to quit if he wasn't removed.



Lucinda Roy, a co-director of creative writing at Virginia Tech, said she tutored Cho after that. She said she tried to get him into counseling in late 2005 but he always refused.

"He was so distant and so lonely," Lucinda Roy, a co-director of creative writing at Virginia Tech said in a broadcast interview "It was almost like talking to a hole, as though he wasn't there most of the time. He wore sunglasses and his hat very low so it was hard to see his face."



"He was very quiet, always by himself," said Abdul Shash, a neighbor of Cho's family in Centreville, Va., Shash said Cho spent a lot of his free
time playing basketball, and wouldn't respond if someone greeted
him. He described the family as quiet.


  • John Esterbrook

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