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Student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 30 people on Virginia Tech's campus in 2007. The mass murder ended when he turned the gun and shot himself in the head.
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Seung-Hui Cho was born in South Korea in 1984. When he was about 8 years old, his family immigrated to the United States, where they ran a dry-cleaning business in Virginia. Picked on by other students at a young age, Cho was later described by his college professors as a troubled loner. He was twice accused of stalking female students in 2005, but neither victim filed charges. A suicidal statement by Cho to a suitemate led to him being taken to a psychiatric hospital in December 2005,
but he was released with orders to receive therapy as an outpatient. On April 16, 2007, Cho began his rampage by killing two students in a dormitory after 7 a.m. He later went to a classroom building and began shooting students and faculty members, killing 30 people and injuring several others around 9:45 a.m. The spree only ended when Cho turned one of his guns on himself, shooting himself in the head.
Born in South Korea on January 18, 1984, Seung-Hui Cho is known for carrying out one of the most devastating mass murders in the United States in 2007. Several years before the shooting, when Cho was about 8 years old, he and his family came to the country from South Korea. They eventually settled in Centreville, Virginia, where they ran a dry-cleaning business. Cho was known as a shy child who liked basketball and did well in math. But according to an article in Newsweek magazine, Cho was also bullied by other children, including wealthy members of his church.
In high school, Cho was described as sullen and aloof. After graduating in 2003, he went on to study at Virginia Tech University. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, the school has an extensive campus with more than 26,000 students residing there. Cho stood out as a near-silent loner who wrote gruesome poems, stories and plays. He sometimes referred to himself as "Question Mark."
One professor, poet Nikki Giovanni, had him removed from her class for disturbing the other students. She told TIME magazine that "there was something mean about this boy." She said that he was "a bully" and always came to class wearing sunglasses and a hat, which she would always ask him to remove. Cho was also photographing the legs and knees of female students in the class. Other members of the English department faculty were concerned about him as well. Lucinda Roy, the co-director of the school's creative writing program, took him out of class and tutored him individually. She also encouraged Cho to get counseling.
In addition to his odd behavior and dark writings, Cho exhibited other potential warning signs. He was twice accused of stalking female students in 2005, but neither victim filed charges. A suicidal statement by Cho to a suitemate led to him being taken to a psychiatric hospital in December of that year. He was soon released with orders to receive therapy as an outpatient. Documents released in June 2007 indicate that he did attend at least one court-ordered counseling session at the Cook Counseling Center.
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Armed and ruthless, spree killers become infamous for turning a flash of anger and resentment into a deadly rampage. Columbine killer Dylan Klebold introduced America to the horrors of school shootings when he killed 13 students and teachers in 1999, and in 2007 Seung-Hui Cho made us relive the nightmare when he murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech. In the end killers like these often become their own victims, when they turn their weapons on themselves.
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