Sun-kyung Cho, the older sister of Seung-hui Cho, the man accused of carrying out the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history, has finally come forward, according to a report in Princeton University's daily newspaper, the Daily Princetonian.
According to this report, Cho reached out to a close friend and spiritual adviser from her Princeton days, the Rev. David Kim. Kim is the director of the Manna Christian Fellowship at Princeton University.
Cho, who graduated from Princeton in 2004 with an undergraduate degree in economics, was a member of Manna, according to the report. The society's Web site describes Manna as a society that began over 10 years ago by Korean students wanting to inspire other Asian-Americans to join them in Bible study. Its Web site indicates that Manna, which literally translates to mean, "What is it?" includes members of all race, gender, religion or class who would like to better know the Gospel, but the Daily Princetonian confirms that it has historically had heavily Asian-American membership. Its members also get together for ad hoc socializing, including movies, bowling, ice-skating and eating, according to its Web site.
The university's newspaper reports that in a discussion forum organized yesterday by the Korean American Students Association (KASA) to help students cope with the tragedy, Kim told the group that Cho had called and talked to him over the phone yesterday morning.
Princeton had held a candlelight vigil in Richardson Auditorium on Tuesday night in memory of the 32 students killed at Virginia Tech the day before. According to the Daily Princetonian, several Korean students and alumni have expressed anxiety regarding a possible nationwide backlash against their community following the Virginia shootings.
According to the report, Kim told the KASA forum that when Cho called, "One of the first things she did was she apologized because she felt so bad for the Koreans on campus."
Cho's parents, who left their Centerville, Va., house Monday before media members swarmed the location, do not speak English, Kim told the Daily Princetonian. It will be up to Cho to speak publicly on behalf of her family. According to the report, Kim said that in the next few days, Cho would release a public statement on behalf of her family.
Cho is reported to have looked upon her time at Princeton as a positive experience. She filed a story for the campus newspaper and also volunteered for a Princeton organization that was formed to create social and cultural programs for young people affected by the attacks of Sept. 11.
In an interview with the Princeton Weekly Bulletin, Cho said that in 2003 she spent the "most amazing three months of my life" as an unpaid intern in the economics section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. According to the online article, Cho also interned the previous summer at the State Department's international labor office. According to The AP, the Princeton graduate now works as a contractor for a State Department office, the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, which oversees billions of dollars in American aid for Iraq. She calls herself "Sun Cho" on her work voice mail.
Cho is listed in the State Department directory as a personnel assistant at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, but sources say she reports to McNeil Technologies, which is one of the many administrative/managerial support contractors used for Iraq reconstruction management projects.
Cho took a leave of absence from her job Tuesday, ABC News reported.
In an interview with the Daily Princetonian after the forum Wednesday, Kim said that Cho is "doing okay and [that] she appreciates the support of the Manna community that she knows."
He also said that though her family was in great need of support, Cho told him that rumors and media reports that her parents had attempted suicide were untrue.
He added that he wanted to respect Cho's privacy by restricting his public comments about her, emphasizing his desire not to "compromise [his] ability to support her as a friend."
According to the report, Kim said he had known Cho when she was an undergraduate at the university and described her as "one of the sweetest people."