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Seung-Hui Cho


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Seung-Hui Cho was a South Korean mass murderer who was responsible for the deaths of 32 people and injuring 17 others with a semi-automatic pistol on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

When Seung-Hui Cho was about 8 years old, he and his parents immigrated from South Korea to the United States, where they then ran a dry cleaning business in Virginia. He was known as a shy kid and was often picked on by other students at a young age. In 2003, he went to study at Virginia Tech University, where he often stood out as a near-silent loner who wrote gruesome poems, stories and plays. His college professors often described him as a troubled loner.

Some of his family members had concerns about his behavior during his early childhood and had thoughts that he might be selectively mute or mentally ill. His behavior never seemed to improve throughout the years as Nikki Giovany, his poetry teacher, had to remove him from class. She did this because she found his behavior menacing, he had also intimidated female classmates by photographing their legs under their desks and by writing violent and obscene poetry.           

Around 7:15 a.m. on April 16, 2007, Cho began his rampage when he killed two students, Emily J Hilsher and Ryan C “Stack” Clark on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston Hall. Within the next two and a half hours, Cho returned to his room to rearm himself and he mailed a package to NBC News that contained pictures, digital video files, and documents. By sending the package to NBC News, Cho wanted his motivation to be known, even though it’s unclear as to why he exactly felt such animosity. At around 9:45 a.m., he made his way to Norris Haul, which was a classroom building on the campus where he shot dozens of people in 9 minutes, resulting in the death of 32 students. As police were breaching the area of the building where Cho was, he made his way to Norris 211 where he shot himself in the temple. They identified him by matching immigration records with the fingerprints on the guns used. Police were not too sure that Cho was the one responsible for the West Ambler Johnston shooting and the Norris Hall shooting, but forensic evidence confirmed that the same gun had been used in both shootings. 

Later on during the investigation, police found a note in Cho’s room in which he criticized “rich kids”, “debauchery”, and “deceitful charlatans”. He continued by saying that “you caused me to do this”. Early media reports also speculated that he was obsessed with his fellow student Emily Hilscher and became furious after she rejected his romantic overtures. Law enforcement wasn’t able to find any evidence that suggested that Hilscher knew Cho. 

This shooting was incredibly sad as many innocent and helpless people lost their lives. This killing has been known as the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

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Jessica Aguilar-Resendiz is a student who lives in Cornelius Oregon. She likes to bake, listen to music and hang out with friends.

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