The deadliest school shooting in US history took place on April 16, 2007 on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg. The massacre would leave 33 dead, including the alleged shooter, later identified as Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, who is believed to have taken his own life.
Seung-Hui Cho would mail out his manifesto to the media in an attempt to defend and explain his rampage. Cho depicted himself as a bullied, picked-on outsider who was driven to violence by an unkind world.
A deeper look into Cho’s life revealed a disturbed, mentally unstable individual with a history of threatening behavior.
1. Shots Rang Out The Morning of April 16, 2007
GettyWalther P22 pistol,.
Shots rang out at approximately 7:00 a.m. the morning of April 16, 2007 at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a coed dorm that housed approximately 900 students. It is believed that Cho was able to gain access to the building with a magnetic key card because he had an active mailbox there. Cho’s first two victims were Emily J. Hilscher, a student who lived in the dorms and Ryan C. Clark, a Resident Assistant. After Hilscher and Clark were shot, Cho left West Ambler and went to Harper Hall, a nearby dorm where he lived.
By the time emergency responders arrived at West Ambler in response to reports of shots fired, Cho was already back at his dorm, where he was able to change his clothes, delete his email and remove his hard drive. Cho stopped at the nearby post office to send copies of his manifesto explaining his actions to the media, before returning to campus with a backpack full of ammunition. A detailed account of Cho’s movements on April 16, 2007 is available here.
Cho then entered Norris Hall where he opened fire. Approximately two hours had passed between the shooting at West Ambler and the attack at Norris Hall. Cho allegedly placed a note on the door to the hall indicating that any attempt to open the door would cause a bomb to explode. 911 calls began coming in at approximately 9:45 a.m. The victims killed at Norris Hall were students and faculty alike, as Cho went from classroom to classroom, taking aim at anyone in his crosshairs. 32 students and faculty were killed during the massacre, with additional victims sustaining serious injuries. Cho is believed to have taken his own life before he could be apprehended by the authorities.
A first-person account of the shootings is available here.
2. Seung-Hui Cho Released a Manifesto
Cho was later positively identified as the shooter. Cho was a 23-year-old senior of South Korean descent. Cho grew up near the campus in an upscale, gated community.
Cho sent copies of his self-proclaimed manifesto to the media, defending and explaining his actions. Cho depicted himself as being relentlessly bullied and picked on. Like Elliot Rodger, Seung-Hui Cho was looking for retribution and payback against those who he felt had wronged him.
A transcript of Cho’s manifesto is available