Va. Tech Shooter, Victim Linked to Gun Range

The students still come to practice shooting at the Jefferson National Forest Firing Range.  It's only been two weeks since 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech, but for these recreational shooters here not much has changed. The range is only 10 minutes from campus, the weather is nice, and it's free.

This place may also hold important clues into the motiviation of the Virginia Tech killer, Seung-Hui Cho.

One regular at the facility reportedly saw Cho practicing his gun skills in the week before the mass shooting.

"He never said nothing. He wouldn't look at nobody and would fire off maybe a box of shells and then leave," Randy Elmore, 54, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Elmore reportedly saw Cho three times in the six weeks prior to the campus shooting.

Police confirmed last week that before he killed 32 people on the campus of  Virginia Tech, Cho visited local firing ranges in the Blacksburg area to practice shooting the firearms used in the April 16 incident.

JoBeth Brown, a spokeswoman for the facility, told ABC News her staff had no recollection of Cho, but noted that the range has no full-time staff. Visitors bring their own weapons and targets, using the 18-lane firing range unsupervised.

Emily Hilscher, Cho's first victim, apparently also visited the Jefferson Forest range. According to a Virginia Tech Police affidavit, Hilscher's boyfriend, Karl David Thornhill, shot guns at a local firing range as recently as two weeks before the on-campus attack. Hilscher's roommate, Heather Haugh, said in an interview with Newsweek that Thornhill took Hilscher with him to use the range.

Elmore reportedly recognized one of the shooting victims, a young woman, as someone he had seen at the firing range. It was unclear, however, whether Hilscher was the young woman he spotted.

The link between Hilscher and Cho is unclear, but possibly crucial to understanding a motive behind the April 16 attack. Cho approached Hilscher at her dorm room in West Ambler Johnston Hall before opening fire, killing her and her neighbor, resident advisor Ryan Clark.

Hilscher attended the same high school as Cho, though she graduated three years after he did. Cho lived several buildings away from Hilscher at Virginia Tech, but his campus mailbox was in the basement of Emily's dormitory, giving him some access to her building. Although friends of Hilscher say she had no romantic relationship with Cho, he did have a history of stalking and harassing female students.

This week, Virginia Tech students using the firing range told ABC News they don't remember seeing Cho or Hilscher at the facility. They did, however, say they worried the fallout from the shooting would cast a shadow over the facility and over guns in general.

"People use events like these to make whatever political points they want about gun laws," said Ryan Richardson, a junior at Virginia Tech. "I just hope it doesn't give [shooting sports] a bad name."

ABC News' Jay Shaylor contributed to this report.

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