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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Interview With Former Roommates of Suspected Virginia Tech Shooter; Warning Signs Missed in Virginia Tech Massacre?
Aired April 17, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Only on 360 tonight, we have an exclusive window into what made a troubled young man tick, Cho Seung-Hui, who rarely spoke to roommates or in his class, his odd behavior well known. He occasionally called himself Question Mark, a young man who stalked female schoolmates, who had an imaginary girlfriend named Jelly (ph), but a rage so real that 32 others paid for it with their lives.
Tonight: a 360 exclusive interview with two young men who lived with the loner now blamed for the single deadliest shooting in American history. What they said, in all honesty, left a lot of jaws hanging in the newsroom.
Before we play it for you, though, here's a quick recap of this sad and busy day.
It ended tonight with a vigil, thousands of people out on the drill field on the middle of the Virginia Tech campus, candlelight reflected in their tears.
This afternoon, a formal convocation at Cassell Coliseum -- Governor Kaine and President Bush among those paying tribute. A day will come, the president said, when life here at Virginia Tech returns to normal, when mourning gives way to memories.
And we would like to start now with Ryan Clark. Friends called him Stack. They say he always had a smile. He was 22.
Emily Jane Hilscher was studying animal sciences. She worked at a vet's office back home. Emily was 19.
Professor G.V. Loganathan hailed from southern India. He had been teaching at Tech since 1982. He was 51.
Ross Alameddine came from Saugus, Massachusetts. Just this past weekend, he called his mom to tell her he had decided to major in English. He was 20.
Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust. He died, though, on Holocaust Remembrance Day here, trying to save students. He was 76.
Matthew La Porte attended a military prep school graduated third in his class, and won a scholarship to tech. He was 20.
Reema Samaha attended the same high school that graduated the gunman, Cho. She was just 18. Twenty-one-year-old Daniel Perez Cueva was studying international relations here at Virginia Tech.
High school classmates voted Jeremy Herbstritt most talkative. A born engineer, he loved to take things apart and put them back together again.
Caitlin Hammaren's high school principal called her one of the most outstanding young individuals whom he's ever known. He has been at it for 31 years. She was just 19 -- just some of the 32 lives that Cho Seung-Hui took before taking his own.
As for his own life, you probably heard today about some of the warning signs he seemed to show.
Now something we know you haven't heard: a portrait of a young man from two other young men who lived with him, John and Andy. They don't want to give their last names. They were all roommates.
They spoke today with CNN's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What kind of roommate was he?
JOHN, FORMER ROOMMATE OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: He was pretty quiet, really clean, not one you can complain about, really, to start off with.
TUCHMAN: When you first moved in, you saw this guy, friendly enough, right, quiet. I mean, everyone wants a quiet roommate, right?
JOHN: Yes. I mean, he wasn't friendly, by any means. He was just quiet.
TUCHMAN: Was he mean?
He -- sometimes, I guess you would say, rude, the way you would try to carry a conversation with him and couldn't get any feedback from him, like talking to a brick wall.
TUCHMAN: And did you think that was strange initially?
JOHN: Yes, I did. But I used to be pretty shy, too, when I came to Tech. And I thought maybe something has happened in his life. I don't know. Just turned to be so quiet and not want to talk to people.
TUCHMAN: And, Andy, did you feel the same way when you first met him. He's just a real quiet guy? You thought -- do you think he was kind of weird when you first met him?
ANDY, FORMER ROOMMATE OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: I thought he was just really quiet and shy. I didn't think he was weird initially. Just, some people are shier than others.
So, when did you start noticing, Andy, that perhaps it was a little more than being a shy, nice guy?
ANDY: We tried to hang out with him at first, too him -- introduced him to our friends and stuff. And weeks of this, and he never opened up, just never talked to us, and went about his day by himself. Never saw anyone come visit him.
TUCHMAN: I mean, did you ever have -- sit down and have a conversation with him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never more than a couple words, other than the one time when we went out to a party, and he opened up, and said he had an imaginary girlfriend.
TUCHMAN: He told you he had an imaginary girlfriend?
TUCHMAN: And what prompted him to say that?
ANDY: We had been drinking, so I guess he had just decided to open up.
TUCHMAN: So, he had a few beers, and he opened up?
TUCHMAN: And what did he say about an imaginary girlfriend?
ANDY: He called her -- was it...
JOHN: I think Jelly.
ANDY: Jelly. And she called him Spanky (ph).
TUCHMAN: Spanky and Jelly?
ANDY: Yes. And that was that.
TUCHMAN: And what did he say about this imaginary girlfriend?
ANDY: She was a supermodel, I think.
TUCHMAN: And were you guys amused by this or -- or weirded out by it?
ANDY: More amused. You know, you think this guy is pretty crazy. JOHN: Yes, strange, strange guy.
TUCHMAN: But then something happened that -- you say he started harassing women at school here, right?
TUCHMAN: Tell me about that, John.
JOHN: He -- I walked back to my room one night, and there was a policeman in there.
And, apparently, what had happened was, he had gone up -- or he had started talking to her online first. He found where she lived, started talking to her on AIM. Then he went over there. He was using the name Question Mark, said, hey, I'm Question Mark. And that really freaked the girl out.
TUCHMAN: So, he was stalking her?
JOHN: Yes. He found out everything about her first.
TUCHMAN: And, like, he told this girl all the things he learned about her?
JOHN: I don't know if he told her that. But he thought they were playing some kind of game or something.
TUCHMAN: And did you know the girl?
JOHN: No. I...
TUCHMAN: I mean, was she freaked out about it? Did you hear later?
JOHN: The -- freaked out enough about it to call the police.
TUCHMAN: Did this happen with any other girls, Andy?
ANDY: There were two other instances that we know of. One was one of our friends, he started following -- bothering her. And another was down the hall.
TUCHMAN: And what happened in those cases?
ANDY: The one down the hall, I got the girl's screen name, and kind of told her -- I I.M.ed her and told her, this guy, you know, he is messing around with you. Here's his name. And you should kind of ignore him and just stay away from him.
Then, the other time, the cops responded again. And Seung became upset about that. And he told me that he might as well kill himself. And, so, I told the cops that. And they took him away to the counseling center for a night or two.
TUCHMAN: And, when he told you that he might kill himself, did you think he might be serious?
ANDY: It's -- it was more out of I could kind of see him doing it. It was about -- it was before a break, is what I remember. So -- and he never went home. So, he would have been there over break by himself, if he was serious about it.
TUCHMAN: I mean, John, the guy never talked to you. So, for him to say he might want to kill himself, I guess that would be pretty notable, right?
JOHN: Yes, that would be a red flag. I would have said something to somebody, if he said it to me. He talked more to Andy probably than he did to me, just because Andy is more of a friendly guy.
TUCHMAN: But you were his -- you lived in the same room as him?
JOHN: Yes. But, after a time, I just stopped trying to talk with him. And then, when all this sort of starting happening with other girls and things like that, I started to keep a closer eye on him. And it was more of -- instead of me being his roommate, it was more of a watchdog thing, to see where...
TUCHMAN: Why did you feel you had to be a watchdog? Were you afraid for your own safety?
JOHN: Not necessarily for my own safety, but for friends. I stopped telling friends to come by my rooms, especially girls. I thought about several times trying to follow him, to see if maybe he was going to go stalk some other girl in some other dorm, so we could get word to them, like we did the girl that lived on our hall.
TUCHMAN: I mean, did you think he might harm some of these girls?
JOHN: I never thought that, at some point, he would harm them,no. But, at the same time...
TUCHMAN: But why were you thinking of following him?
JOHN: Just because I know a girl would be extremely weirded out by that. I wouldn't want some guy following my sister or...
TUCHMAN: So, when he came back from the clinic, after threatening to kill himself, did he talk about that at all? Or did you ask him about it, Andy?
ANDY: No. It was kind of weird, obviously, for a time after that, because I had reported him for it. And, pretty much, there was no other incidents after that. He kept to himself a lot more after that.
TUCHMAN: Did he like music, for example?
ANDY: Yes, he did. He listened to a lot of rock, a lot of Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, "Shine Down" by...
JOHN: By Collective Soul.
ANDY: ... Collective Soul.
TUCHMAN: You were saying that there was one song he could keep playing over and over. What was that?
ANDY: It was "Shine Down."
JOHN: "Shine Down."
TUCHMAN: By Collective Soul.
And was there any reason? He would just keep playing it over and over and over again? And was this on an iPod or stereo speakers?
JOHN: It was on his laptop.
TUCHMAN: His laptop?
And you guys heard it?
JOHN: I heard it. It would wake me up in the morning sometimes.
TUCHMAN: Like, what -- what did you say to him?
JOHN: I never said anything, because...
TUCHMAN: How come?
JOHN: I always thought he was kind of a fragile guy at the time. That was still -- I think before the police came.
And I just didn't want to say, hey, turn that music off or switch the song, because I didn't have that kind of relationship with him.
TUCHMAN: Did you ever say anything to him about it, Andy?
ANDY: About the music?
ANDY: No, never.
TUCHMAN: You guys seemed to be very patient with him, and somewhat caring, that you didn't want to bother him.
JOHN: Well, I think, in that situation, with anybody that's like that, you just try to be as patient as you can. You don't want to come down hard on him or send him into some kind of shutdown/lockout mode. TUCHMAN: But here you're dealing with a guy who was a stalker, who you knew was a stalker, and was very strange, never talked with you.
TUCHMAN: And, then, did he ever get in trouble? Did he ever do anything to get himself in trouble, other than stalking?
JOHN: He would write on the walls, the suite walls. But I don't think he ever got in any kind of trouble for it.
TUCHMAN: What did he write on the suite walls?
JOHN: The lyrics of the music that he would listen to.
TUCHMAN: Like, with chalk or paint or...
JOHN: Pencil or pen.
TUCHMAN: And what did you -- what did you do about that?
JOHN: We just told our R.A.s. They went up the chain of command with it, I guess.
TUCHMAN: You were afraid you would get fined, have to pay a fine?
JOHN: Yes. Everybody -- if they didn't know who it was, everybody in the suite would have had to pay a fine.
TUCHMAN: Did he have any hobbies? Did he do anything other than sit in his room and listen to music?
ANDY: Went to the gym, and he had a bicycle that he worked on. And he was always riding that, usually.
JOHN: Yes. He would -- he would go out really late at night and just ride his bike around for a few hours and come back.
TUCHMAN: Now, when you heard that there was an Asian man who was the gunman, what did you think, Andy?
ANDY: Well, I was with my roommate from last year. And we kind of maybe guessed that it was him, because it matched the description. And we were a little, I guess, fearful that it would be him, hoping it wasn't.
TUCHMAN: Why did you think right away that it might be him? There are a lot of Asians here.
ANDY: Well, part of the description, too, was the guy they arrested on the drill field initially looked similar to him, close- cropped hair.
And, then, with the girl in A.J., too, like, after they -- it was released that it was an R.A. and a girl killed, that it kind of sounded like the girl had gotten into trouble with a guy. But, when I heard that she had had a -- it was the boyfriend, I was kind of thinking it wasn't Seung, because I had never seen him with a girl, or anyone else, for that matter.
TUCHMAN: John, when you heard it was an Asian man who did this, did you think it was him?
JOHN: Yes. And I don't really know a whole lot of Asians at Tech. And that may have been the reason, too. But the only strange Asian that I would known would have been Seung. And everybody that I knew that I have told stories about, about Seung, they all called me and said, do you think that was Seung when they found out it was an Asian?
TUCHMAN: Now that you look back at his behavior, is there anything, with there benefit of hindsight, that you see as, God, that was weird; I wonder if I should have said something about that or done something about that?
JOHN: Of course.
TUCHMAN: Like what, for example?
JOHN: Like maybe trying to make it higher. You know, things take when you -- R.A.s are working through their chain of command and things, too. Just maybe talking to the cops more, telling them to keep a better eye on him, things like that.
TUCHMAN: What do you think, Andy? Is there anything that -- is there any specific instance of something he did that you're thinking about now that you say, wow, I mean, that -- this was a warning sign?
ANDY: All the instance with the girls, I think, are the big warning signs. Like, none of them ever came to, like, charges or anything, because I'm sure those girls weren't trying to cause trouble.
But, if any of them had, it may have stopped things then. But those are definite warning signs of someone that had some social problems.
TUCHMAN: How many different girls do you know that he stalked?
ANDY: I think three.
KING: Later, the strange moment when Cho broke his silence about the stalking -- that's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN: He said that he wanted to go up there and look her in the eyes to see how cool she was, because that's the only way he could tell how cool she was, by looking her in the eyes. And, when he looked in her eyes, he saw that -- he saw promiscuity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We have been hearing all day about what made a mass murderer tick, but nothing like what two roommates told CNN's Gary Tuchman tonight about Cho Seung-Hui, a troubled loner, who slept with the light on, had imaginary friends, and stalked some of his classmates.
Gary's interview continues now with what happened when their roommate Cho crossed the line.
TUCHMAN: You were telling me about one of the girls whose door he went to and he talked to her. Tell me about that and what he said.
JOHN: He said that he walked in and -- what he told me one night, which was really strange, because he never talked to me. He never got up and closed the door himself. And he never turned off the lights when he was going to bed.
So, it was really strange when he closed the door and he turned to me, and he said, hey, you want to know why I went up to that girl's door room the other night?
And I said, sure. Why?
He said that he wanted to go up there and look her in the eyes to see how cool she was, because that's the only way he could tell how cool she was, by looking her in the eyes. And, when he looked in her eyes, he saw that -- he saw promiscuity.
TUCHMAN: And, when he said that to you, what did you say to him?
JOHN: I said -- I just shrugged my shoulders. I didn't know what to say. It really shocked me to hear that come out of his mouth.
TUCHMAN: I mean, did you ever see him with a girl?
TUCHMAN: You said he had an imaginary girlfriend, but you never saw him with a real girlfriend.
JOHN: He was never with anyone, a professor, another guy, a girl.
TUCHMAN: So, you lived with this guy one year, and you never saw him with another person, other than your roommates?
JOHN: Right. ANDY: Right.
TUCHMAN: Did you ever break bread with him, eat with him?
JOHN: At the beginning of the semester, yes, when we would all get together and go out to eat dinner. We would invite him along.
TUCHMAN: And he would come?
JOHN: Yes. He came for a few times. After a while, he stopped. He just declined.
TUCHMAN: But, when he came those first few times, did he talk?
TUCHMAN: He just sat there and ate?
JOHN: Yes. And our other friends would try to talk to him, too. And they would ask him questions about where he was from, what his major was. And he would give them all the same one-word-sentence answer.
TUCHMAN: You were saying, when he went to bed, he left the lights on?
JOHN: When he went to bed, he left the lights on. Most of the times, I would be up, you know, doing homework late. And he would just -- you know, he would go change, and he would just climb up to his bed. He would leave the door open and the lights on. And we had lofted beds, too, so, the light was right next to his head.
TUCHMAN: And he would leave the light on all night?
JOHN: As long as I was in there. I would turn it off. I felt bed. I know that I have the light off to get to sleep.
But, at first, when he did that, I would say, Seung, if you ever want to go to sleep, just say it, and you can turn the light off or whatever. I will turn my lamp on. Or, you know, if you want the door shut, that's fine, too. If you want a fan on or off, I don't care. And he would say, OK. And then he would just do the same thing over again.
TUCHMAN: What is, Andy, the strangest thing you remember him doing, now that you look back at it?
ANDY: I guess it was his Facebook profile, He had a -- called it Question Mark. And he told me that that was his brother.
And he had gotten my cell phone number from when we used to invite him to dinner and stuff. So, he called me on a couple of instances, talking and saying he was Question Mark. And I remember, one night, I finally just got completely tired of it.
And I'm like, Seung, the act's up. You know, you need to stop this. And he was like, this isn't Seung; this is Question Mark -- being real -- just insisting on that.
So, I knew he had to be in Cochran. I went through all the lounges in Cochran, and not that many. But I finally found him on -- I think it was...
TUCHMAN: Cochran, the residence hall...
I found him on the third floor in one of the study lounges. And the lights were off. And, the moment I walked in, he hung the phone up and acted like everything was normal, and denied that he had been on the phone with me.
KING: Gary Tuchman with us now.
Gary, fascinating and more than troubling and disturbing.
When you're talking to the roommates, at any point, did they say, wow, leaving the light on, stalking classmates, doesn't talk much -- did they go to friends, did they go to their families and say, we think we have a problem here?
TUCHMAN: They talked to their friends about it here at Virginia Tech.
But, John, being a good son, didn't want to worry his parents, so he didn't say anything to his parents. Andy, also being a good son, decided he did want to mention it to his parents, just in case. His parents were very worried. And they said, please, be careful. This guy sounds like he has some problems.
But that's all they talked to them about.
KING: And you listened to all of this disturbing behavior. What stood out the most?
TUCHMAN: You know, the stalking, obviously, is very disturbing. There's no question about it.
But what stands out the most to me is the fact that they say this guy literally said nothing the entire year, except for a couple of crazy things, talking about seeing promiscuity in this girl's eyes, when he looked into her eyes, and also the fact that he had absolutely no visitors in that room for the entire year. Not one person, not even his parents, they said, ever came to visit him, except for his imaginary girlfriend that he named Jelly.
KING: It is a fascinating, and, as I said, a very troubling look, Gary's exclusive with the roommates. And there's more of it to come, more of this exclusive to come, on 360.
And you can see Gary's interview with Cho Seung-Hui's roommates on the A.C. 360 podcast. Get the download at CNN.com/AC360podcast. Or you can go to iTunes, where it's the number-one news and information download.
Up next: someone else who knew Cho well, a professor who saw his dark side in her classroom and even tried to keep him away from other students -- and a look at disturbing plays Cho wrote that may have set the stage for his rampage -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JOSEPH CACIOPPO, MONTGOMERY REGIONAL HOSPITAL: This man was brutal. There was no -- there wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them. Even, again, the less serious injuries, we saw one patient that had a bullet wound to the wrist, one to the elbow, and one to the thigh. We had another one with a bullet wound to the abdomen, one to the chest and one to the head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: An emergency room doctor at Montgomery Regional Hospital here in Blacksburg stunned by the number of wounds he's seen.
The question on the minds of many tonight is whether there were any warning signs from the killer, Cho Seung-Hui. Some might argue there were in his writings.
CNN's Jason Carroll looks at that.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The two plays written by Cho Seung-Hui contain graphic passages about plans to kill a main character.
One of them, titled "Richard McBeef," is a story about a young man who despises his stepfather, Richard. It reads: "I hate him. Must kill Dick. Dick must die. Kill Dick. Richard McBeef."
In the eight-page play, the young character accuses his stepfather of molesting him, saying, "I will not be molested by an aging, balding, overweight pedophilic stepdad named Dick. Get your hands off me, you sicko. Damn you, you Catholic priest."
The mother in the play brandishes a chain saw and yells at her husband: "Are you a bisexual psycho rapist murderer? Please stop following me. Don't kill me."
At one point, the young man tries to choke his stepfather with a cereal bar. The play ends with the stepfather swinging a deadly blow at the 13-year-old boy. One former FBI profiler says Cho's words could help investigators.
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: I think that lends us a real -- gives us a window into what was going on inside his mind. And he seems -- to me, that these writings indicate he felt helpless and powerless over people that were doing him harm.
CARROLL: Cho's second play, titled "Mr. Brownstone," also involves threats of killing. Three students hate their math teacher, Mr. Brownstone, for giving them detention. Much of the language is so graphic, we cannot repeat it here.
"He has to make our lives miserable," one of the students says. "I would like to kill him. I will be damn if he doesn't die."
Another line says, "I want to kill him," and another, "I want to watch him bleed, like the way he made us kids bleed."
DELONG: The individual that wrote this seems to be fixated or very angry about sexual things going on in his life, older male figures taking advantage of him, doing evil things. He seems to also have a theme in these papers where he sees himself, the younger person, as powerless and somewhat possibly hopeless, but also very, very angry at -- at -- at the world.
CARROLL: The subject of money also plays an important role in both plays.
In "Richard McBeef," the young man criticizes his stepfather, saying, "You can't provide for my mom."
In "Mr. Brownstone," the young students win millions at a casino, only to have it stolen by their teacher.
It closes with a final threat: "You won't get away with this, Brownstone."
(on camera): One of Cho's professors was so disturbed by his writings, she suggested that he seek counseling. But it's unclear if he ever sought the help that he needed.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
KING: Professor Lucinda Roy is the former chairwoman of Virginia Tech's English department. She says she was disturbed by Cho's writings and recommended he seek counseling.
Professor Roy joins us now.
You say he was angry. Some things in his writing, you found to be threats. You said it was unacceptable.
Tell us more specifically about what you saw in this young man that scared you.
LUCINDA ROY, FORMER TEACHER OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: He just seemed to be a very lonely, very depressed person. And he seemed to be angry about a lot of things lost. And it seemed to me that he needed to have some professional help.
KING: You pulled him out of class, tried to tutor him one on one. Why? Did you think he was a threat to the other students?
ROY: In fact, I got a request from the faculty member, who felt uncomfortable. He was taking photographs of students without their permission, especially under the desk. And she felt that that was inappropriate and so did the students.
And so I pulled him out of class and eventually began tutoring him just one on one, because I didn't feel that the students should have to subject themselves to that.
KING: And you say he needed counseling. What are your options as professor in that case? How high can you go? You can't obviously make him go to counseling, but did you report him? Did you go to higher-ups and say you may have a problem here?
ROY: I reported it to student affairs, to the college of liberal arts and sciences, to counseling and to the Virginia Tech police.
KING: Help me with your understanding of this young man. You knew he was troubled, you knew he was angry. You saw some behavior in him that was deeply disturbing. Did you see him as capable of something that we now know happens here on campus?
ROY: You know, I'm not sure, John, that anyone would think that of anybody. I think that -- I saw that he seemed like a very depressed person and the thing I was most worried about at the time was that he was suicidal. Because it seemed to me that some of the traits that he exhibited were really quite dangerous towards himself.
And so it seemed to me that it was absolutely essential that he get some kind of counseling. And when I realized that I had hit a wall and that, although everybody tried to be helpful, they seemed to be stymied by the rules that were in place, I knew that I just had a simple choice, which was to take him out of the classroom so that he wasn't among the students.
KING: When you said to him, I'm trying to help you, you need counseling, he said?
ROY: He -- eventually, he said to me, after I think it was the second meeting, he said that he was going to counseling. And I offered to walk over with him as I did every meeting. And I called counseling again and said, you know, isn't there any way he can be required to do this? And they told me that that wouldn't be possible.
So I think that there are some things that need to be looked at. That I absolutely believe in student civil liberties but at the same time we need to keep people safe. KING: In your experience, were there triggers, things, conduct, interaction that perhaps made him brighter, more him more happy, triggers on the other hand, any type of interaction or any kind of lectures or discussions of certain things that made him more of a dark person?
ROY: I think that he was a very lonely, isolated kind of person the whole time. And it was very difficult to get him to really speak much. He was a very silent person and would often take 10 to 20 seconds to respond to anything. And then he would speak in a whisper.
He would always wear sunglasses, even inside. And a cap, so it was very hard to see his face. And it was only later on as we began to work together that I was able to persuade him to take the sunglasses off. And that seemed to be a step in the right direction.
But he was very troubled, which was why I felt I needed to contact so many people.
KING: Professor Lucinda Roy, thank you for your thoughts tonight. A close up look at a man we now is responsible for the most heinous massacre in American history. Thank you very much for your thoughts tonight. Thank you.
His professor may have seen some of the warning signs, but people in Cho's hometown say they didn't see it coming. We'll take you there next. Also ahead, more of Gary Tuchman's exclusive interview with Cho's roommates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY, CHO'S FORMER ROOMMATE: He'd be standing there in the door and I'd turn around and he'd be there. I remember one time he had taken a picture of me. The only reason I noticed him was the camera flash. And I know there was a couple other instances of that with people. But I was more weirded out than scared.
Looking back on it all now, you know, he could have been back there doing anything and I would have never seen it coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The Korean community coming together tonight at a church in Fairfax, Virginia. Just down the road, the city of Centreville, Virginia, is reeling. It's the hometown of two of the victims as well as the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui.
Today reporters poured into the suburb roughly 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Among them there, CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flags flutter low in the neighborhood where Cho Seung-Hui lived and went to high school. Most people in this comfortable suburb aren't talking, and those who are have little to say. The parents were nice, the son rarely seen. A question mark as he would call himself.
Marshall Main is a neighbor.
MARSHALL MAIN, NEIGHBOR: I don't know if I've ever seen him at all in the past year, because he would just go in and out and that would only be a few moments when he'd be observed or observable.
FOREMAN: Law enforcement sources say the Chos freely allowed their town home on this cul-de-sac to be searched before going into seclusion with other family members.
Although the large Korean-American community here is giving few details, the Chos are described as hard-working immigrants who labored in dry cleaning shops to put a daughter through Princeton and have been devastated by their son's actions.
JEFF AHN, LEAGUE OF KOREAN AMERICANS: This is just unreal.
FOREMAN: Jeff Ahn is a community leader.
AHN: It's not an easy task for them to work long hours at the drycleaners and send their kids to college -- at high school and through the college. And this is just a tremendously tragic -- tremendous tragedy for the parents, as well.
FOREMAN: At Westfield High, Cho Seung-Hui once walked the halls with two of his victims. They were in the yearbook together. But he did not stand out.
A local church deacon who has worked with many Korean-American teens from that school, says none of them even knew Cho except as a loner.
KYEUNG GUK MIN, CHURCH DEACON: It's very strange. They didn't have some kinds of socialization. They should have some contact, some information, but this is very unusual.
FOREMAN: Now, of course, everyone here knows him and his victims in a way they never imagined.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Chantilly, Virginia.
KING: Still ahead, what made Cho snap? But first, more of our exclusive and frankly chilling interview from two people Cho let into his silent world, his college roommates. They describe what it was like to live with the killer. 360, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go Hokies! Let's go Hokies!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go Hokies! Let's go Hokies! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go Hokies! Let's go Hokies!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A scene there from a candlelight vigil on the drill field tonight. Thousands of students and parents and faculty, campus and country together in mourning but also asking why? What made a student snap?
All night only on 360, some insight from two young men who lived with the killer. Andy and John, they don't want to reveal their full names. They watched their roommate say and do things, though, that seemed strange at the time and are sadly telling tonight.
More now of their exclusive interview with CNN's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you look back at it, is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
JOHN, CHO'S FORMER ROOMMATE: I keep running it through my head a lot. Since I found out it was an Asian in his 20s, I thought it could be Seung. I've been thinking about it ever since. And I just can't come to a good idea about what we could have done other than what we did do. We called the police. We told our R.A.'s. We thought we were doing the right thing, it was being taken care of.
And I'm not saying, you know, the police or Virginia Tech didn't do their job. No way am I saying that. But I just feel, you know, everything that could have been done was done at the time.
And maybe if we had tried harder to get him kicked out or something like that, maybe that might have helped. I don't know.
TUCHMAN: Were you ever afraid for your own safety at any time with this kid?
JOHN: It was a little weird, you know, after you know he had been stalking girls and looking at their FaceBooks and knowing everything about them. Sometimes at night when I would go to sleep I'd be a little nervous.
But I could always say he could go into a pretty deep sleep because he would lay in bed, and he would always moan and he would always be really restless sleeper and move around. So I always went to bed after he did. And he woke up about two hours before I did.
TUCHMAN: What about you?
ANDY: There's a couple of instances where he would like -- you would leave your door open in the dorm and he'd be standing there in the doorway and I'd turn around and he'd be there.
And there was one time he was taking a picture of me. And the only reason I noticed him was that the camera flashed. And I know there was a couple other instances of that with people. But I was more weirded out than scared.
But looking back on it all now, you know, he could have been back there doing anything, and I would have never seen it coming.
TUCHMAN: But he was taking a picture of you?
TUCHMAN: What did you say to him?
ANDY: Well, there was another instance that -- at the beginning of the year when we were inviting him to dinner, he took us -- we went downstairs in the lounge and were eating.
He had the camera again and took a picture of the girls next to us. And it was kind of embarrassing because he put the camera down real quick. And the girls think, you know, that a guy full of tables is taking pictures of them.
And I didn't say -- I never said anything to him. I wish I had, because that was the thing he did. He took pictures of everyone, I guess.
TUCHMAN: Why do you think he was taking a picture of you in your dorm room?
ANDY: He was a strange kid, so you expect strange things.
TUCHMAN: How do you feel now, sitting here, knowing what happened on your campus, John?
JOHN: I feel terrible. I keep thinking about it, and thinking about the victims and their families and what they're going through. If maybe there was something I could have done to stop that or prevent that. Not a good feeling at all.
TUCHMAN: What about you, Andy, can you believe this?
ANDY: No. Seeing the families today really brought it home, because you know, they're missing someone now, and they didn't even get to say goodbye.
TUCHMAN: It sounds like you guys were really kind to him. Did you ever lose patience with him? Did you ever tell him, "Quit it, stop it. What are you doing? Are you nuts?"
JOHN: When he started to stalk one of our friends, we told him that was it, and that was when he threatened to commit suicide.
ANDY: Other than that, we were pretty accommodating. You know, you accommodate roommates. You meet all sorts of people in college, and you've just got to be accommodating, no matter how weird it is, I guess.
TUCHMAN: Do you remember, John, what you said to him specifically about the stalking of your friend? Do you remember the words you said to him or your tone of voice?
JOHN: I still didn't want to be really rough with him, because he was still in the same room. I didn't know -- if I had of left that day after I would say something, I didn't know if I would come back and find my -- all my stuff trashed or something like that. So you know, you say stop. And just...
TUCHMAN: Did you say, stop? Or did you say listen...
JOHN: I said, that's not cool. That's our friend. And it was just emotionless.
TUCHMAN: But did he immediately tell you, that "I want to kill myself" or did that come later?
ANDY: That came later on.
TUCHMAN: Like that same day?
ANDY: Yes, later. Actually, it may have been the next day. It was over the Internet. He had IM'd that to me.
TUCHMAN: Do you remember what he said, though, in the IM?
ANDY: He said, "I might as well kill myself now."
TUCHMAN: So you guys talked to each other and decided to call the police at that point?
JOHN: Yes. And the girl, too, I think she had her parents call the police when she found out that -- he kept going back to her door and writing on her dry erase board after we told him to stop.
TUCHMAN: Did he go to his -- go to classes all the time or did he cut?
JOHN: As far as we knew, he was going to classes.
ANDY: He would leave most of the day, and you'd see him come back every once in a while. But for the most part, he wasn't in the room.
TUCHMAN: Did you talk to him a lot online?
ANDY: He would IM a lot online. He would definitely say a lot more over instant messenger than he would in person. I guess because he could hide behind the computer.
JOHN: I think that's one of the reasons he never talked to me that much, because I was in the room with him all the time whenever he was online. He never sent me an IM. He -- I remember him talking to Andy a lot or Andy coming in and saying he was talking to him, something like that.
TUCHMAN: How can you live with somebody who doesn't talk? JOHN: I got used to it. I mean, like I said, I always thought it could be worse than -- I could have a loud roommate in there that smoked or that was drunk all the time. You know, so...
TUCHMAN: So you looked at this as the better of two evils: you didn't have a loud smoker or drunk; you had just a quiet guy?
JOHN: Yes. A guy that didn't like to talk. I mean...
TUCHMAN: Did you ever meet anyone who didn't like to talk who was capable of talking?
JOHN: Not like this.
TUCHMAN: Did you?
TUCHMAN: Did your other roommates feel the same -- suite mates feel the same way about him?
JOHN: They never talked to him. I'm sure they don't even know that his name was Cho.
ANDY: I talked to somebody earlier, and he didn't put the name together with the face.
TUCHMAN: No kidding?
JOHN: Yes, he was just like a shadow. You wouldn't even hear him move in and out. The only way they would know is if they saw him coming in and out of the door.
TUCHMAN: Do you feel that your lives have changed now that this has happened?
JOHN: I think it's hard to say now how it's going to change because you're still in a state of shock, but I mean, it's just a terrible, terrible feeling.
ANDY: I think everybody did all they could. There were a couple instances where the cops were called, and nothing was pressed on it. So I think those immediately surrounding him, us and the R.A.'s, did their part.
KING: You can't help but shake your head. CNN's Gary Tuchman with the exclusive and stunning and, frankly, very troubling interview.
From his roommates to teachers, so many people were clearly in agreement about Cho Seung-Hui, who was a deeply troubled young man. They all saw red flags, but what exactly do those flags represent?
Joining me now is CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Morrison, who's also board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Dr. Morrison, I want to begin with you. You've heard all these pieces. He's silent. He writes angry things. He doesn't talk much to his roommates. He's stalking other students. He seems threatening at times to his professors. Add it all up for us. What do we see?
DR. HELEN MORRISON, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, you see the typical profile of a mass murderer. We see an individual who's been a loner for a long time, who showed signs of being highly disturbed.
If you read his plays, you see a tremendous amount of warped thinking, even more warped sexuality, what appears to be tremendous fears of his own same-sex urges that he projected onto other people.
If you look at his writings just from a year ago, you can see an individual who is psychologically deteriorating. But, again...
KING: And, Sanjay...
MORRISON: Go ahead.
KING: Dr. Morrison, hold on for me just one second. Hold on for me just one second. Hold that thought because I want to ask Sanjay to jump in on that point.
Sanjay, the police responded at one point. Obviously, nothing happens. He's told by professors, "Please get counseling." He tells his roommates he's suicidal. But yet, he somehow falls through the cracks. How does this happen?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, John. You know, in hearing Dr. Morrison, as well, there's so many people out there who sort of fit these sort of strange profiles, as Gary said it. And you don't quite know what to do with them.
I mean, you're not -- they're not quite rising to the level of where you think maybe they're dangerous. You think almost jokingly that perhaps they could be.
If they're suicidal to the point where they actually have a plan, they start giving away things of value to them, then you start to worry that maybe this is someone who is actually going to do something, either harm to themselves or to somebody else.
But short of that, you're right, John. There's not a great system in place, at least not to the layperson, to be able to deal with something like this.
KING: And so Dr. Morrison, what should that system be? The professor said get counseling. The police did respond to the threatening behavior at one point.
How do you know? Where is the trigger in your mind, as you analyze somebody, from a troubled individual who's prone to loner behavior to someone who could go out and buy weapons and kill people?
MORRISON: This is an individual who is blatantly paranoid. He was also blatantly psychotic, out of touch with reality. But he didn't show the kinds of behaviors that we would be able to commit him on a medical basis or a psychiatric basis.
And there is nothing in place. There is nothing that anybody could do, beyond reporting this potential stalker to the police.
The police didn't have enough to charge him. They didn't have an order of protection that was sent against him. And there was really no outward sign that he was a danger to anyone.
But that's the absolute problem with someone who's a paranoid psychotic. They are so quiet; they are so under the radar. And they may look a little odd, but tell me who isn't odd when you're in college? Everybody has their own type of difference.
And the roommates did their absolute best. But there is no system in place to go to a policeman and say, "You know, I'm worried about what this guy is thinking." We don't put people in jail for what they're thinking.
KING: Sanjay, any reason to believe, based on everything you've heard today, every troubling detail, that antidepressants, any drug regimen could have helped this young man?
GUPTA: Well, it's hard to say, John. I mean, one of the things about antidepressants, in very rare situations, someone who's profoundly depressed, someone who may have either suicidal or homicidal thoughts, they take the anti-depressants, and suddenly, they get a little bit more energy.
Not enough to actually combat their significant clinical depression, not enough to take away their suicidal ideation or their homicidal ideation. But enough to give them a little bit more energy where, in fact, they can act out on some of those -- some of those ideas.
It is a very rare situation, but sometimes antidepressants can be problematic for that reason. But in the vast majority of people, it can be helpful as well. Hard to say here. You know, we're sort of analyzing and speculating from afar. But those are two things to sort of consider in a situation like this.
MORRISON: But the antidepressants were taken a long time ago.
KING: All right. We need to thank you both. We're short on time. Dr. Helen Morrison, our own Dr. Gupta. We could discuss this for some time tonight, and we certainly will in the days and weeks ahead as we try to learn more and more about this troubling tragedy.
And for more perspective on the killer, go to the CNN blog. That's where many CNN reporters, producers and writers have shared what they've learned while covering this tragic story. Log on to CNN.com/360blog. And we, as always, welcome your thoughts.
In the next hour of 360, new information about the massacre, including how Cho got the guns used and why it took two hours to warn the students.
Plus, he survived the holocaust and died here a hero. The incredible story of a professor who gave up his own life to save his students, when AC 360 continues.
KING: It would be meltingly beautiful if it weren't so wrenchingly sad. The vigil this evening, not far from where I'm standing on the campus of Virginia Tech. The sea of candlelight, thousands of people, each with memories of friends and colleagues and loved ones. All of them tonight doing what they could to hold off the dark and the cold.
It was the informal answer to the ceremonial moment, a convocation this afternoon attended by the governor and President Bush. But even there, a little light got in, people capping the proceedings with a chorus of "Let's go, Hokies!"
One student saying, "You know, we really needed that."
There was that today. But also some light shed on the dark figure at the center of the misery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been able to confirm the identity of the gunman at Norris Hall. That person is Cho Seung-Hui.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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