Virginia Tech gunman rails against rich "brats" in video

Cho Seung-Hui, shown brandishing guns at camera, mailed mailed film to NBC in middle of rampage; perpetrator praises Columbine killers.

By
April 19, 2007 10:21
3 minute read.

 
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Midway through his murderous rampage, the Virginia Tech gunman went to the post office and mailed to television network NBC a package containing photos and videos of him brandishing guns and delivering a snarling, profanity-laced tirade about rich "brats" and their "hedonistic needs." "You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui says in a harsh monotone. "But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off." NBC said the package contained a rambling and often incoherent 23-page written statement, 28 video clips and 43 photos. Several of the photos showed him aiming handguns at the camera. The package arrived at NBC headquarters in New York Wednesday, two days after Cho killed 32 people and committed suicide in the deadliest one-man shooting rampage in modern US history. It bore a Postal Service time stamp showing that it had been mailed at a Blacksburg post office at 9:01 a.m. Monday, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho first opened fire. That would help explain one of the biggest mysteries about the massacre: where the gunman was and what he did during that two-hour window between the first burst of gunfire, at a high-rise dorm, and the second fusillade, at a classroom building. "Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats," says Cho, a South Korean immigrant whose parents work at a dry cleaners in suburban Washington. "Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust funds wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything." Earlier in the day, authorities disclosed that more than a year before the massacre, Cho was accused of sending unwanted messages to two women and was taken to a psychiatric hospital on a magistrate's orders and was pronounced a danger to himself. But he was released with orders to undergo outpatient treatment. The disclosure added to the rapidly growing list of warning signs that appeared well before the student opened fire. Among other things, Cho's twisted, violence-filled writings and sullen, vacant-eyed demeanor had disturbed professors and students so much that he was removed from one English class and was repeatedly urged to get counseling. Some of the pictures in the video package show him smiling; others show him frowning and snarling. Some depict him brandishing two weapons at a time, one in each hand. He wears a khaki-colored military-style vest, fingerless gloves, a black T-shirt, a backpack and a backward, black baseball cap. Another photo shows him swinging a hammer two-fisted. Another shows an angry-looking Cho holding a gun to his temple. He refers to "martyrs like Eric and Dylan" - a reference to the teenage killers in the Columbine High massacre. NBC News President Steve Capus said the package arrived in Tuesday afternoon's mail, but was not opened until Wednesday morning. It was sent by overnight delivery and apparently had the wrong postal ZIP code, NBC said. An alert postal employee brought the package to NBC's attention after noticing the Blacksburg return address and a name similar to the words reportedly found scrawled in red ink on Cho's arm after the bloodbath, "Ismail Ax," NBC said. Capus said that the network notified the FBI around noon, but held off reporting on it for several hours at the FBI's request, so that the bureau could look at it first. It was clear Cho videotaped himself, Capus said, because he could be seen leaning in to shut off the camera. State Police Spokeswoman Corinne Geller cautioned that, while the package was mailed between the two shootings, police have not inspected the footage and have yet to establish exactly when the images were made. Cho repeatedly suggests he was picked on or otherwise hurt. "You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience," he says, apparently reading from his manifesto. "You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people." A law enforcement official said Cho's letter also refers in the same sentence to President George W. Bush and John Mark Karr, who falsely confessed last year to having killed child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak to the media.

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