Cho Seung-Hui

In April of 2007, Cho Seung-Hui perpetrated a mass shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the town of Blacksburg, Virginia.  The attack began in a dormitory where two students were murdered.  Within the next three hours, he began a shooting spree in a campus classroom building where dozens of people were shot.

By Christopher (Norris Hall) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Overall, thirty-two people were killed with seventeen injured, before Seung-Hui turned the gun on himself and ended his life.  Potential victims were also injured when attempting to escape the shooter by jumping from windows. 

This attack is known as the Virginia Tech Shooting and is commonly called the Virginia Tech Massacre.  At the time, this shooting was known as the deadliest mass shooting in the modern history of the United States.  It stayed at the top of list until the Pulse Orlando shooting occurred in 2016.

Who Was Cho Seung-Hui?

At the time of the attack, Cho was twenty-three years old.  He was born in South Korea and moved to the United States with his parents and two siblings when he was eight years old.  He and his family became permanent residents of the United States.

In elementary school, Cho was recognized as a good student with strengths in English and math although he didn't seem to like going to school and he didn't communicate well.  By middle school, he had become rather unresponsive and seemed to be withdrawn. 

Concerns were brought to light by educators due to drawings that were considered "dark" along with a paper that he wrote that referred to a desire to repeat Columbine.  At this point, he began getting psychiatric treatment.  He was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, selective mutism, along with depression.

It is depicted that Cho was bullied some during high school due to his shyness. In college, there are suggestions that Cho wasn't bullied, although he did engage in counseling due to concerns raised by roommates, teachers and fellow students. 

Evidently he had indicated that he might be suicidal and his creative writing assignments reflected violent thoughts.  It also is suspected that Cho engaged in stalking a girl and that he might have been involved in making previous bomb threats against the university.

Motives of the Virginia Tech Shooting

Initially, the motive of Cho Seung-Hui was difficult to discover because Cho didn't communicate with many.  Prior to the massive shooting, he sent a package to NBC News that helped to unravel his thoughts once it is was revealed, although it didn't specifically state a motive.  The package contained photographs, videos and a statement, commonly referred to as a manifesto.

The package revealed that Cho had a problem with wealthy people and hedonism and he mentioned Christianity.  He expressed extreme anger, but not at anyone in particular, as he stated that he felt he was forced into corner of which he found only one option.  The package contributed very little to the investigation.  Overall, it appeared that Cho was mentally ill and a disturbed man.       

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