Gunman Showed Signs of Anger — (New York Times)

SSRI Ed note: Student on Prozac, described by acquaintances as "angry", holds grudges against fellow students, kills himself and 32 others at Virginia Tech.

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New York Times

Published: April 18, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 18 — Cho Seung-Hui rarely spoke to his own dormitory roommate. His teachers were so disturbed by some of his writing that they referred him to counseling. And when Mr. Cho finally and horrifyingly came to the world’s attention on Monday, he did so after writing a note that bitterly lashed out at his fellow students for what he deemed their moral decay.

Mr. Cho’s eruption of violence, in which 32 victims and himself were killed on the Virginia Tech campus here in a rampage of gunfire, was never directly signaled by his actions or words, several of his acquaintances said Tuesday. But those acquaintances were frequently disturbed by his isolation from the world and his barely concealed anger.
Though the level of anger was clear to those who knew Mr. Cho, there is little that points to a precise motive for Monday’s events. Or, as a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity put it: “What was this kid thinking about? There are no indications.”

Mr. Cho was a 23-year-old senior, skinny and boyish-looking, his hair cut in a short, military-style fashion. He was a native of South Korea who grew up in Centreville, Va., a suburb of Washington, where his family owns a dry-cleaning business. He moved with his family to the United States at age 8, in 1992, according to federal immigration authorities, and was a legal permanent resident, not a citizen.

In the suite in Harper Hall where he lived with five other students, he was known as a loner, almost a stranger, amid a student body of 26,000. He ate his meals alone in a dining hall. Karan Grewal, 21, another student in the suite, recalled that when a candidate for student council visited there this year to pass out candy and ask for votes, Mr. Cho refused even to make eye contact.

On Tuesday, investigators were examining a note Mr. Cho had left behind in his dorm room, a rambling and bitter list of the moral laxity he found among what he considered the more privileged students on campus.

Centreville is an unincorporated community of 48,000 about 20 miles from Washington in Fairfax County. Mr. Cho graduated in 2003 from Westfield High School in nearby Chantilly, a large school that sends dozens of its students to Virginia Tech. At least two of Mr. Cho’s victims had also attended Westfield.

The Cho residence in Centreville is on Truitt Farm Drive in a subdivision of attached townhouses called Sully Station II. The family was not at home on Tuesday. But neighbors said three unmarked police cruisers arrived at the house about 10:30 p.m. Monday, and came and went throughout the rest of the evening. The neighbors had only nice things to say about the Cho family; the father sometimes cleaned the snow off his neighbor’s car across the street.

Every 10 years, lawful permanent residents are required to renew their green cards. Mr. Cho did so, and was issued a new card on Oct. 27, 2003. Applicants seeking a green-card renewal undergo a criminal background check through various law enforcement databases, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Nothing showed up in those checks that told us he couldn’t have his green-card renewal,” Mr. Bentley said.

Mr. Cho went to bed early by college standards, about 9 p.m. He often rose early, but in recent weeks he had been doing so even earlier, frequently before dawn, said Mr. Aust, his roommate. Such was the case Monday.

Mr. Cho awoke before 5 a.m., then sat down to work on his computer and awakened Mr. Aust in the process. Mr. Grewal, who shares a room in the same suite, saw Mr. Cho in the bathroom shortly after 5 a.m.

As usual, Mr. Cho did not say anything to Mr. Grewal. No good morning, no hello, Mr. Grewal said. Mr. Cho stood in the bathroom, brushing his teeth, wetting his contact lenses and applying a moisturizer.

He also took a prescription medicine. Neither Mr. Aust nor Mr. Grewal knew what the medicine was for, but officials said prescription medications related to the treatment of psychological problems had been found among Mr. Cho’s effects.


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Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following information is listed on Wikipedia, with several links to source information that are no longer active:

The investigation panel had sought Cho’s medical records for several weeks, but due to privacy laws, Virginia Tech was prohibited from releasing them without permission from Cho’s family, even after his death.[106] The panel had considered using subpoenas to obtain his records. On June 12, 2007, Cho’s family released his medical records to the panel, although the panel said that the records were not enough.[107][108] The panel obtained additional information by court order.[109] Like the perpetrators of both the Columbine and Jokela school massacres, Cho was prescribed the antidepressant drug Prozac prior to his rampage, a substance suspected by Peter Breggin and David Healy of leading to suicidal behaviors.[110] It is not known if Cho ever complied in filling or taking this prescription; or if he had taken and then discontinued the prescribed medication. The toxicology test from the official autopsy later showed that neither psychiatric nor any kind of illegal drugs were in his system during the time of the shooting.[111]

In August 2009, Cho’s family allowed Virginia Tech to release the records, along with those found in July 2009, to the public..[112]