Seung-Hui Cho

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Seung-Hui Cho
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Full Name: Seung-Hui Cho
Alias: Spanky
Ax Ishmael
The Question Mark Kid
The Anti-Terrorist
Origin: Asan, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea
Occupation: Student
Skills: Range shooting
Theater productions
Hobby: Theater
Killing people
Goals: Kill everyone at Virginia Tech (failed)
Crimes: Premeditated Mass Murder
Attempted Murder
Type of Villain: Sadistic School Shooter

We have no sympathy in killing humans who have no respect for other people's lives.
~ Seung Hui Cho

Seung-Hui Cho (January 18th, 1984 – April 16th, 2007) was a Korean-American school shooter who committed the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16th, 2007. He killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before committing suicide.

The massacre happened in 2 places, in between a 2-hour interval. First, at his dorm, he fatally shot a resident and an RA student. Some time later, he sent a package, with his videos and manifesto in it to a post office, meant to be received by the NBC.

The second part of the attack was more carefully planned. Cho chained all the main exit doors shut, preventing any form of escape. He also left a note warning that if anyone tries to break open the door, a bomb would explode. During this wave of attack, Cho killed 30 students and staff members, with some people killed behind even locked doors. Of all the deaths, 28 were shot in the head.

Cho also used hollow point bullets, which is why there were so many deaths. The Virginia Tech shooting is currently ranked the deadliest school shooting in American history, and the third-deadliest mass shooting in modern American history overall.

Early life

Cho was born in Asan, a city in the South Korean province of South Chungcheong, and lived in a basement apartment with his family. His father ran his own bookstore but didn't make much money from it. In September 1992, when Cho was eight years old, the family moved to the United States, eventually settling in Centreville, Virginia, a town in Northern Virginia, which had a large Korean community. There, the family became avid Christians. A quiet boy, he never socialized much with his family, causing relatives to believe he was selectively mute or had some sort of mental illness. In high school, Cho was teased and sometimes bullied for his usually-silent nature. When he did speak, he was mocked because of it, with one student saying "Go back to China", though he was from South Korea. On April 20, 1999, while Cho was in the eighth grade, two bullied students attending Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, committed a deadly massacre at the school, killing 12 students and one teacher before committing suicide, an incident that made national news. Cho became "transfixed" by the news, and when he voiced a need to "repeat Columbine", he was immediately sent to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him as having selective mutism.

Graduating from high school in 2003, Cho was enrolled at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a.k.a. "Virginia Tech", as an undergraduate major in business information technology, but later changed his major to English for reasons never specified. During his entire stay, Cho began referring to himself as "Question Mark" and even putting a question mark for his name on a sign-in sheet. A few weeks after the semester began, Cho's poetry professor made a request for him to be removed from her class when he began photographing female students' legs and writing violent poetry. However, the school officials turned down the request, believing these actions to not be threatening enough. Cho also began stalking two female students, to which he received verbal commands from campus police to stop. When Cho told a roommate that he "might as well kill himself", he was sent to a mental health facility. However, treatment was recommended for him as an outpatient. But because he wasn't involuntarily committed as an inpatient, it was still legal for Cho to purchase firearms. Two months prior to the shootings, Cho successfully purchased his weapons; he also took pictures, made videos, and wrote documents voicing his emotions and opinions and put them into a package.

Virginia Tech Shooting

I didn't have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run. It's not for me. For my children, for my brothers and sisters that you fucked;, [sic] I did it for them... When the time came, I did it. I had to...You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today, 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.
Finally, on April 16, 2007, Cho arrived at Virginia Tech's West Ambler Johnston Hall, a co-ed residence hall, at about 6:45 a.m. Easily accessing the hall due to the fact that his student mailbox was located there, he entered room 4040, on the fourth floor. There, he shot and injured freshman Emily Hilscher, who would die from her gunshot wounds three hours later. He then killed a male resident assistant named Ryan Clark, who heard the gunshots and attempted to aid Hilscher. For reasons unknown, he concluded his shooting at the hall and left for his room. It was assumed that he specifically targeted Hilscher because she rejected romantic advances from him sometime prior, enraging him, but this was inconclusive. At about 7:30 a.m., police arrived and classified Hilscher's boyfriend, Karl Thornhill, who was an avid gun user, as a person of interest. At around 8:00 a.m., West Ambler Johnston Hall was locked down, and about 25 minutes later, Thornhill was found by police and detained for questioning; he would later be cleared of any suspicion. During the following two hours, Cho returned to his room to change his clothes, log on to his computer to delete his email, remove a hard-drive, rearm himself, and retrieve the aforementioned media package, which he mailed off to NBC News at a nearby post office at around 9:01 a.m. Wearing a bulletproof vest, Cho then walked to Norris Hall, which houses the Engineering Science and Mechanics program, at around 9:05 a.m. He used chains he brought along to lock down the hall's main three entrances to prevent initial escape.

After looking into several classrooms, Cho, at about 9:40 a.m., began his shooting spree at room 206, first shooting and killing the professor, Gobichettipalayam Vasudevan "G.V." Loganathan, and then shooting eleven of the thirteen students in the room, nine of them fatally. He then went across the hall to room 207, killing the instructor, Jamie Bishop, and two students as well as injuring an additional six. At this point, several other classrooms, hearing the gunfire, began to barricade the doors. Going to room 204, whose door was barricaded, Cho was forced to shoot through the door, killing the professor, Liviu Librescu, who was an Israeli Holocaust survivor, but at that point, all but one of the students in Librescu's class were able to jump out of the windows and escape. The remaining student was also shot and killed. Cho then proceeded to room 211, whose door was also barricaded, but this time, he was able to force his way inside after killing the instructor, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, and a student, Henry Lee, both of whom were blocking the door. He then murdered ten other students and injured an additional six. Reloading, he then revisited rooms 207 and 206, wounding two students at the former room and killing another two at the latter room. He then attempted to force his way into room 205, but the door was blocked by a large desk and Cho was unable to enter; no one in that classroom was shot. Cho then fatally shot a professor, Kevin Granata, when he ventured out of his classroom from the upper floor to investigate the gunfire. Reentering room 211, Cho then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, ending the nine-minute-long mass shooting.


In the aftermath of the massacre, Virginia Tech canceled classes for the following week in favor of an assembly and candlelight vigil, while Norris Hall was closed for the rest of the semester. There was also a response from the government, with then-President George W. Bush and his wife Laura attending the assembly and then-Virginia Governor Tim Kaineconducting a review of every aspect of the massacre. The school also came under a great deal of criticism for delaying in warning the students and professors of the danger and putting the campus under lockdown after the West Ambler Johnston Hall shootings. The gun politics debate was also put back under the spotlight under the citation of Cho being able to purchase firearms despite his mental health history. Additionally, Cho's family has also expressed shock at his actions, with Cho's older sister Sun-Kyung stating, "I don't feel that I know him."

The investigation of the massacre, which was headed by the same company that investigated the Columbine High School shootings, eventually created a final report of more than 30 pages devoted to explaining the history of Cho's mental health. In it, the Virginia Tech staff was criticized for failing to recognize the danger of Cho's behavior. A main memorial was established for the deceased victims of the massacre, and a Northern Virginia chapter named after victim Liviu Librescu, the Holocaust victim, was founded in November 2008. A more efficient alert system was also started at Virginia Tech; it has been activated three times ever since its establishment, the latest incident being when a police officer was shot and killed on December 8, 2011, with the killer, 22-year-old Ross Truett Ashley, then committing suicide, in a random act of violence. Many other responses stemmed from many colleges and universities worldwide as well as heads of state and international figures. Hundreds of colleges and universities sent condolences and also started their own candlelight vigils and memorial services as well as reexamining their security systems and mental health support services. Pope Benedict XVIQueen Elizabeth II, and South Korean United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were among those who sent condoling and sympathetic messages to Virginia Tech. Sporting teams and figures from both university and professional levels joined established fundraising efforts.

South Korea and its residents were especially affected in the aftermath. The South Korean government was forced to hold an emergency meeting to consider "possible ramifications", while another candlelight vigil was held outside the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. A 32-day fast dedicated to those killed in the massacre (one day for each victim) was called upon, but the fasting has been criticized by Korean-Americans. South Korean students attending Virginia Tech have also expressed fear that they will be subjected to racial prejudice after what Cho had done, although no incidents of such have been reported. Additionally, an announcement was made that safety measures have been established for Korean nationals in the U.S. In the wake of the gun politics debate that was sparked by the massacre, numerous foreign papers became highly critical of U.S. gun laws and gun culture.



This is a list of educators who had died in the shootings. Four of the victims were male and one was female. The victim's names are followed by their date of birth, and their age at the time that they were killed.

  1. Jamie Bishop, German instructor - November 9, 1971 (35 years)
  2. Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, professor of French - February 17, 1958 (49 years)
  3. Kevin Granata, professor of Engineering - December 29, 1961 (45 years)
  4. Liviu Librescu, professor of Engineering - August 18, 1930 (76 years)
  5. G. V. Loganathan, professor of Engineering - April 8, 1954 (53 years)


This is a list of students who had died in the shootings. In total, 27 students were killed. 16 of the victims were male and 18 were female. The victim's names are followed by their date of birth, and their age at the time that they were killed.

  1. Ross Alameddine - September 16, 1986 (20 years)
  2. Brian Bluhm - July 19, 1981 (25 years)
  3. Ryan Clark - May 29, 1984 (22 years)
  4. Austin Cloyd - April 24, 1988 (18 years)
  5. Daniel Perez Cueva - January 5, 1986 (21 years)
  6. Matthew Gwaltney - December 11, 1982 (24 years)
  7. Caitlin Hammaren - May 4, 1987 (19 years)
  8. Jeremy Herbstritt - November 6, 1979 (27 years)
  9. Rachael Hill - July 17, 1988 (18 years)
  10. Emily Hilscher - June 2, 1988, (18 years)
  11. Matthew La Porte - November 20, 1986 (20 years)
  12. Jarrett Lane - March 28, 1985 (22 years)
  13. Henry Lee - November 21, 1986 (20 years)
  14. Partahi Lumbantoruan - April 26, 1972 (34 years)
  15. Lauren McCain - December 20, 1986 (20 years)
  16. Daniel O'Neil - May 9, 1984 (22 years)
  17. Juan Ortiz - February 4, 1981 (26 years)
  18. Minal Panchal - July 17, 1980 (26 years)
  19. Erin Peterson - August 17, 1988 (18 years)
  20. Michael Pohle Jr. - October 15, 1983 (23 years)
  21. Julia Pryde - September 7, 1983 (23 years)
  22. Mary Karen Read - January 30, 1988 (19 years)
  23. Reema Samaha - June 23, 1988 (18 years)
  24. Waleed Shaalan - October 13, 1975 (31 years)
  25. Leslie Sherman - April 9, 1987 (20 years)
  26. Maxine Turner - January 15, 1985 (22 years)
  27. Nicole White - August 23, 1986 (20 years)


You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. 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.
~ Seung-Hui Cho
Do you know what it feels to be spit on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement?
~ Seung-Hui Cho


  • Seung-Hui Cho's favourite band was U2.
  • His favourite book was Night Over Water.
  • Cho, like most school shooters, was inspired by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre.
  • The massacre was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, surpassing the Luby's massacre perpetrated by George Hennard 16 years previously. It was surpassed by the Orlando nightclub shooting perpetrated by Omar Mateen on June 12, 2016.
  • Cho inspired Elliot Rodger to perpetrate the Isla Vista shootings on May 23, 2014.



George Hennard
Seung-Hui Cho
Omar Mateen