Questionnaire asks Va. Tech students for info on shooter

Published April 28, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Stumped in their search for a motive, authorities at Virginia Tech have sent out a questionnaire asking students for any information they may have about gunman Seung-Hui Cho and his first victim.

A copy of the questionnaire obtained by the Associated Press asks students in the dorm where the rampage began whether they had any interaction with Cho and whether they knew freshman Emily Hilscher, who was killed along with senior Ryan Clark in West Ambler Johnston Hall.

State police requested the questionnaire this week, and the FBI asked resident advisers to help circulate the forms, said State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller. The questionnaires are voluntary, she said.

Police have been unable to determine why Cho began his attacks at the dormitory, and why Hilscher was the first victim.

Witnesses place Cho outside West Ambler Johnston shortly before 7:15 a.m., when he killed Hilscher and Clark.

Cho later killed 30 other people inside Norris Hall, before taking his own life in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Most students said they did not mind filling out the questionnaire and hoped it would help investigators.

"Even though it is a little bit creepy for us to be having to fill this out, they should do whatever they can, " said sophomore Kristina Ticknor, who lives on the floor where Cho killed Clark and Hilscher.

Some of the students hurt in the rampage will meet with Queen Elizabeth II when the British monarch visits the state next week, three state government officials with knowledge of the trip said Friday. The officials asked not to be identified.

The queen's trip is part of the 400th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

Also Friday, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the university's engineering department a $50, 000 donation in response to the massacre. The money was to be used for student scholarships and fellowships.

Eight students and one professor from civil engineering died in the shooting, more than any other department.