Gunman's Relatives Recall Silent, 'Cold' Boy

ByABC News
April 20, 2007, 3:11 PM

April 21, 2007 — -- The Virginia Tech shooter has been described as "cold," "abnormal" and "mentally impaired" -- by a member of his own family describing him as a young boy.

"Normally sons and mothers talk. There was none of that for them. He was very cold," Seung-hui Cho's great aunt Kim Yang-soon, 85, told AP Television News in South Korea. "When they went to the United States, they told them it was autism."

But while Cho was often silent, he would sometimes lash out. The Washington Post reported in today's editions that he would violently punch his older sister, Sun-kyung Cho, when he fought with her.

After the shootings, Cho's family members -- in both South Korea and the United States -- have expressed regret, grief and guilt over the actions of one of their own.

"Our family is so very sorry for my brother's unspeakable actions," Cho's sister said in a statement to The Associated Press on behalf of her family. "It is a terrible tragedy for all of us.

"We are humbled by this darkness," the statement said. "We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn't know this person."

The statement said the family "never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence," and added, "He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare."

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that investigators know how to reach Cho's parents for investigative purposes, though they are not at their Centreville, Va., home. One official said the parents are "doing fine."

FBI spokeswoman Debra Weierman called "totally erroneous" an earlier report by South Korea's Embassy that Cho's parents and sister were being moved from place to place by U.S. law enforcement.

"The Cho family is not under any type of law enforcement custody and protection," Weierman said.

In South Korea, where Cho, 23, spent his early childhood, his grandfather told one newspaper he'd rather be dead than witness his family's shame.

And Cho's uncle, identified only as Kim, expressed the family's sorrow to The Associated Press.

"I am devastated," the uncle said. "I don't know what I can tell the victims' families and the U.S. citizens. I sincerely apologize as a family member."