ROANOKE, Va. — Two days before the Virginia Tech massacre, witnesses saw a suspicious man in a hooded sweat shirt and found exit doors chained shut in the building where Seung Hui Cho killed 30 people, police said Friday.
Cho chained most of the exits of Norris Hall before firing 174 rounds of ammunition in just more than nine minutes there, but investigators said they had no indication he was the person who had chained the exits the first time.
“It would be speculation to suggest that he was practicing locking the doors,” State Police Superintendent Col. Steve Flaherty said in the first update on the investigation in months.
Cho killed 29 students and faculty members at Norris Hall after fatally shooting two people in a dormitory April 16. A student at the time, he killed himself as police broke through the chained doors. Besides those killed, he wounded 23, Flaherty said.
Authorities said Friday they have yet to find evidence linking Cho to any of his victims, nothing suggesting he had an accomplice and nothing to clear up his motive.
“Why West Ambler-Johnston? Why Emily Hilscher? We don’t know,” Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said, referring to one of Cho’s first victims and the dorm in which she died.
Because the dormitory was locked early that morning, “we believe Cho waited for some unsuspecting individual to walk in or out of West Ambler-Johnston and then took the opportunity to enter the dorm,” Flinchum said.
Investigators have not found the hard drive to Cho’s computers, Flaherty said.
“That’s a piece of evidence we would love to find, along with his cell phone and possibly some other documents,” he said.
A state panel that Gov. Timothy Kaine appointed to look into the shootings — the worst in modern U.S. history — is expected to issue a report next month.
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