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The killer responsible for 32 deaths before turning the gun on himself at Virginia Tech this week sent a package of “disturbing” writings and images to NBC News apparently in the time period between the two shooting sprees, lamenting “this didn’t have to happen.”
NBC News released this photo of Cho Seung-Hui from materials the Virginia Tech killer sent to the network in the time period between the two shootings April 16, 2007
“The correspondence included multiple photographs, video and writings,” said Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of Virginia State Police. “Upon receipt of this correspondence, NBC News immediately notified authorities.”
The original materials were turned over to the FBI, which began its examination.
“This may be a very new, critical component of this investigation. We’re in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth,” Flaherty said.
On the MSNBC website, a report said, “Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a long and rambling communication and video about his grievances.”
There were reportedly 23 video clips, 43 still photographs, and one audio clip. A portion of one video had Cho stating:
Do you know what it feels like 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 a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” said in a posting on the program’s “Daily Nightly” blog that the news agency received “what I would call a ‘multimedia manifesto’ from the gunman. We received it today, and immediately handed it over to federal law enforcement authorities. We are still going over our own copy — it’s a lot of material — we are talking with law enforcement, our own standards people — and Pete Williams, our Justice correspondent.”
According to MSNBC.com, the package, timestamped in the two-hour window between Monday’s shootings, was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus. It contained digital photos of the gunman holding weapons and a manifesto that “rants against rich people and warns that he wants to get even,” the Associated Press quoted an unidentified New York law enforcement official familiar with the case as saying.
Capus told the website Cho talks to the camera in the videos, even making a vague reference to the massacre in one instance, stating, “This didn’t have to happen.”
“The statement is hard to follow, kind of rambling. He speaks about hatred,” Capus said, calling it “disturbing, very angry, profanity laced.”
Shortly after 7 a.m. Monday morning, two people were shot and killed by Cho, and authorities had wondered what the killer was doing in the interim before the second set of shootings more than two hours later.
The disclosure of the timestamped package apparently answers the question.
“There was premeditation here,” said Molly Henneberg of Fox News. “Now, he decided he wanted to go much bigger than that after the first shooting.”
During this evening’s broadcast of the “Nightly News,” Brian Williams remarked about Cho’s use of the past tense in his remarks, such as, “The time came and I had to do what I did.”
He asked Pete Williams if the video could have been recorded after the initial shooting.
“There’s simply know way to know,” Pete Williams responded. “We can’t tell when he recorded the original statements.”
The news anchor indicated Cho had taken the photos of himself, along with videotaped statements, many of which were incomprehensible.