Korean student named gunman in U.S. massacre
Assailant killed 33, including himself, in deadliest-ever American shooting
|An injured woman is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. after an ethnic Korean opened fire there Monday, killing 33, including himself, and injuring dozens more. [AP]|
BLACKSBURG, Virginia ― A Korean gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech University Monday, killing at least 33 people, including himself, and injuring dozens more, officials reported.
The shooter, Cho Seung-hui, 23, a Korean citizen who lives in the United States, emigrated there in 1992 when he was a second-grader in elementary school, police said last night at a press conference here.
The Foreign Ministry said Cho's family lived in Centerville in Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington, D.C. A Foreign Ministry official said late last night that he hoped the incident would not "evolve into a racial incident." He said Korean Americans were being urged to take "necessary precautions," but he didn't specify anything further.
Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech University, said Cho lived in one of the school dormitories and was a student at the school.
Among Cho's victims in the deadliest shooting in American history was a Korean graduate student who was shot three times. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.
"Shortly after the lecture began, he came in," said Park Chang-min, 27, a master's degree candidate in civil engineering. "He shot the professor first and then started shooting the classmates. Blood was all over the place quickly and it was chaos. "I could tell that he was an Asian, but because of his mask and hat, it was hard to see his face," Park said. "There were about 15 students in our classroom. The shooting took place in a split second, and I had no time to
hide. He then moved on to the next classroom."
Park said he got as low as possible instinctively and he did not even realize he'd been shot in the arm.
"Police came into our classroom after time passed and things were all quiet," Park said. "We were told to raise our hands if were are okay, and only three, including myself, stood up."
Park was sent to the Montgomery Regional Hospital for treatment.
The South Korean Embassy in Washington dispatched Consul Choi Seung-hyeon to the scene.
"Except for Park, there were no other Korean victims in the shooting," Choi said, at the time.
Park's family, in Seoul, said they were relieved he survived and said that heaven helped him.
After news reports about the killer's possible identity, concerns grew among Korean students about discrimination.
Located 390 kilometers (240 miles) southwest of Washington D.C., Virginia Tech has 26,000 students.
The school has 1,600 Asian students, including 763 Korean undergraduate and graduate students.
"I am worried that the Americans will treat all Asian students, including Koreans, as criminals," said Lee Seung-wook, head of Virginia Tech's Korean student association, before the gunman was identified as a Korean.
The association held an emergency meeting yesterday and agreed to hold a safety discussion every month to listen to reports on racial discrimination and threats, if there are any.
The Foreign Ministry official last night said he did not think one incident would affect the U.S.-South Korean relationship. Audio news
By Kang Chan-ho JoongAng Ilbo/ Ser Myo-ja Staff Writer