Blacksburg, Virginia: The South Korean gunman who killed at least 30 people on a Virginia university campus sent photographs, video and writings to NBC News on the day of the shooting, network officials and police said Wednesday.
NBC anchor Brian Williams described the contents as a “very long multimedia manifesto”, according to statements on NBC’s website that described Cho Seung-Hui’s “lengthy diatribe” talking on a CD-ROM video recording.
“The statement is hard to follow, kind of rambling,” said NBC News head Steve Capus, to whom the package was addressed. “In one instance he makes a vague reference to the massacre and says ‘This didn’t have to happen.´
“He speaks about hatred,” Capus said, adding it was “disturbing, very angry, profanity-laced.”
The package arrived via US mail at NBC offices in New York from Blacksburg, Virginia, and was postmarked 9:01 am, a time which falls between two separate shooting incidents at the university that day, an NBC source told AFP.
US television outlets broadcast one of the pictures in the package, showing Cho brandishing a pair of handguns.
The image shows a still photo of the 23-year-old English major, facing a camera, wearing black fingerless gloves and aiming two handguns slightly outward.
He is wearing backwards a black baseball cap and a short-sleeved khaki survival top and black vest described by student witnesses who survived the shooting.
Virginia police superintendent Steve Flaherty told a news conference the “correspondence included multiple photographs, video and writings. Upon receipt of this correspondence, NBC News immediately notified authorities.”
Flaherty said the material had been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but gave no further details about what it contained.
“This may be a very new critical component of this investigation. We are in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth,” he said.
The South Korean native launched a fatal rampage at Virginia Tech University on Monday before turning the gun on himself. The killings marked the deadliest school shooting in US history.
NBC said on its website that it believed the material had been sent after a first shooting incident on Monday at the university in which a male and female student were killed, but before the mass shooting in a second school building.
“Sometime after he killed two people in a dormitory but before he slaughtered 30 more in a classroom building Monday morning, Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a rambling communication and videos about his grievances,” the network said.
The package was “timestamped in the two-hour window between Monday’s shootings,” NBC news said on its website.
“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.´”
An NBC source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the mailing came in “a standard package,” that arrived via mail from Blacksburg, Virginia, where the university is located, at the NBC offices in New York.
“Initially they didn’t know what to do with it,” the source said. “Someone opened it. There was a letter inside and a video. They looked at the mailing stamp and time was 9:01 am.”
The postmark indicates the time that the package left the post office from which it was mailed. It was unclear whether Cho took the package in person to a post office or if he left it in a mailbox some time earlier.
NBC said it planned to broadcast more from the package on its evening newscast later Wednesday.