The Investigation Into the Virginia Tech Shooting

The police asked about guns; Haugh told them Thornhill had recently taken both girls to a shooting range for fun. She told police she believed he kept the weapons at his home in Blacksburg, Va. (LA Times)

Though Haugh described her roommate as having "a perfect relationship with her boyfriend," investigators suspected the shooting was prompted by a lovers' quarrel. They relayed their theory to university administrators at an 8:25 a.m. meeting. By then, classes were already under way, and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger saw no need to cancel them. "We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," he said.

The long delay between the first and the second set of killings at Virginia Tech on Monday -- presuming there was only one gunman -- puts the attacker in a small minority of mass killers. In a database of murder and mayhem that goes back more than 100 years, Michael Stone, an expert on personality disorders and killers, said he found only a few apparent delays among more than 40 rampage killings, at offices and schools. (NY Times)

Several experts said Tuesday that the nearly three-hour delay between shootings might have been a matter of nerves, or practical necessity. The gunman may have gone into hiding or abandoned one plan for another, for maximum effect. (NY Times)

Another mass killer who took a break between killings was Charles Whitman, who in 1966 killed his wife and his mother. Hours later he climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of the clock tower at the University of Texas and opened fire, killing 14 people before he was killed by the police. (NY Times)

Latest on the Investigation -- Police Chased Down Fruitless Lead

A law enforcement official who read Cho's note described it Tuesday as a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion. Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done, the official said. He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity, the official said. (AP)

Citing unidentified sources, the Chicago Tribune reported Cho had recently set a fire in a dorm room and had stalked some women. (AP)

New information emerged that may help explain a fateful two-hour delay by university officials in warning the campus of a gunman at large. According to search warrants and statements from the police, campus investigators had been busy pursuing what appears to have been a fruitless lead in the first of two shooting episodes Monday. (NY Times)

After two people, Emily Jane Hilscher, a freshman, and Ryan Clark, the resident adviser whose room was nearby in the dormitory, were shot dead, the campus police began searching for Karl D. Thornhill, who was described in Internet memorials as Hilscher's boyfriend. (NY Times)

According to a search warrant filed by the police, Hilscher's roommate had told the police that Thornhill, a student at nearby Radford University, had guns at his townhouse. The roommate told the police that she had recently been at a shooting range with Thornhill, the affidavit said, leading the police to believe he may have been the gunman. (NY Times)

But as they were questioning Thornhill, reports of widespread shooting at Norris Hall came in, making it clear that they had not contained the threat on campus. Thornhill was not arrested, although he continues to be an important witness in the case, the police said. (NY Times)

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