Most people who knew him agree that Cho was strange. But Karan Grewal, who lived in the same dormitory suite with him, said he never saw the side of them that was on display in the multi-media package he sent to NBC News in the hours between his first two murders and his rampage that left 31 other people dead, including himself.
"I just feel like it was a totally different person on these videotapes than who I lived with for the past nine months," he told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "It was a totally different attitude. He was much more confident and real, I would say. It just seemed like he had been putting on an act when he lived with us, just trying to keep low."
Grewal said Cho stayed out of everyone's way in the dormitory. He didn't talk, he didn't say hi and he never made eye contact. Grewal was shocked to see Cho so verbose and so driven on the video tapes he sent to NBC News. Grewal and his suitemates were concerned about Cho simply because he kept such a distance, not because he seemed dangerous.
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"He acted a little bit weird in the beginning, since he kept out of the way from all of us and didn't interfere with us, we just let him be … and let him do his own thing," he said.
Steve Davis was in an English playwriting class with Cho and said he was also struck by the contrast between Cho's demeanor in class and his demeanor on the video tapes.
"When we were in class, he kind of slumped around … never spoke at all," Davis said. "Kind of just sat there looking really aloof. To see him — you know — his videotapes with that much anger and conviction is really striking contrast. The plays that he wrote were definitely disturbing from the get-go."
Davis didn't hear Cho talk the entire semester, but knew after he read Cho's writing, that he was a disturbed individual.
"When we first read his writing, I mean, everybody kind of looked at each other and said, 'OK, this — this guy has some issues,' " Davis said. "This guy's troubled. He's deranged. I don't know if I would have expected that, what we saw on the videos. But you can — you can definitely draw a connection in that it's clear in both instances a very sick troubled person."
With all this in mind, Grewal doesn't understand why he never knew the full extent of Cho's troubles; that he was in a mental hospital for two days and that an English professor had alerted police about his gruesome writing.
"Well, me and my suite mates, we're just surprised that we had no information that he was troubled at all," he said. "We just thought he was a normal shy person; never told us that he was in trouble with his teachers or anybody."