Cho was ORDERED BY A JUDGE to a mental health facility in 2005


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davec
April 18, 2007, 04:35 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3052278&page=1

VT Killer Ruled Mentally Ill by Court; Let Go After Hospital Visit
Killer Harassed Two Female Students; School Worried He Was Suicidal
By NED POTTER and DAVID SCHOETZ

April 18, 2007 — - A Virginia court found that Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho was "mentally ill" and dangerous. Then, the state let him go.

In 2005, after a district court in Montgomery County ruled that Cho was either a danger to himself or to others, he was evaluated by a state doctor and ordered to undergo outpatient care.

The ruling came after Cho was taken by police to a nearby psychiatric hospital for evaluation in December 2005, after two female schoolmates said they received threatening messages from him and police and school officials became concerned that he might be suicidal.

That information came to light two days after Cho, a Virginia Tech senior, killed 32 people and then himself in a shooting rampage on the university's campus.

Police obtained the order from a local magistrate after it was determined by a state-certified employee that Cho met the necessary legal criteria for temporary detention -- which may include being a threat to others and being unable to care for himself.

Under Virginia law, "A magistrate has the authority to issue a detention order upon a finding that a person is mentally ill and in need of hospitalization or treatment.

"The magistrate also must find that the person is an imminent danger to himself or others," says the guideline from Virginia's state court system.

Wendell Flinchum, the chief of the Virginia Tech police department, said that it's common for police to work with state-affiliated mental health facilities because it is easier to obtain the detention order.

"We normally go through access [appealing to the state's legal system for help] because they have the power to commit people if they need to be committed," said Flinchum at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Cho was taken to Carilion St. Albans Behavioral Health Center in Radford, Va., a private facility that can take 162 inpatients, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

The university said it did not know whether Cho had gone to the hospital on his own or was taken there under protective custody, which is a possibility under a temporary detention order.

Authorities did not say how much time Cho had spent at the hospital.

One of the young women complained in November 2005 that Cho, then 21, was stalking her, but she declined to press legal charges against him. Police interviewed Cho for the first time and referred the case to the school's internal disciplinary board.

It's unclear whether any action was ever taken by the school, although Edward Spencer, a school vice president, said that it's not uncommon for a complaint to never reach a full hearing.

A second girl, less than two weeks later, told authorities she received disturbing instant messages from Cho, and asked police to make sure there was "no further contact" from him.

Police spoke to Cho the next day. They say that shortly after, they received a call from an acquaintance of his, expressing concerns that he might be suicidal.

For a third time, police met with him. "Out of concern for Cho, officers asked him to speak to a counselor," Flinchum said. "He went voluntarily to the police department."

Police say Cho talked with a therapist from a local mental health agency not affiliated with Virginia Tech. That agency had authority to seek the detention order from a local magistrate.

The student complaints that brought Cho to the attention of authorities came during the same time that creative writing professor Lucinda Roy went to administrators to voice her concern about violent themes in Cho's writing.

Roy told ABC News that Cho seemed "extraordinarily lonely -- the loneliest person I have ever met in my life."

But authorities said they had no contact with Cho between then and Monday's mass killings.

While the school, citing privacy laws, did not conclusively say that school counselors had ever worked with Cho, they did say that a system for working with outside mental health agencies and local authorities is in place.

"Clearly, mental health professionals have a legal and moral responsibility," when a student presents a possible risk, said Christopher Flynn, head of the university's counseling center. "We have a duty to warn."

But Flynn also said that signs of trouble in Cho's behavior were not a clear indicator that action would follow. "It is very difficult to predict when what someone perceives as stalking, is stalking."

A Loner, Mysterious Even to His Roommates

Seung Cho was quiet -- so quiet that some classmates of his say they never heard his voice in three years. His roommates reported he was distant and private, eating by himself night after night, and watching wrestling on TV.

Cho's roommates say he obsessively downloaded music from the Internet. One of his favorites was the song "Shine," by Collective Soul, which he played over and over

He even scribbled some of the lyrics on the wall, they said -- lyrics like, "Teach me how to speak; Teach me how to share; Teach me where to go."

He was early to bed and early to rise, normally in bed by 9 p.m., and sometimes up by 5:30 the next morning. His roommates tell ABC News they would see him in the morning putting in his contact lenses, taking prescription medication and applying acne medicine to his face.

"He pretty much never talked at all," said Joseph Aust, who shared a bedroom with him in a six-person dorm suite in Harper Hall. "I tried to make conversation with him earlier in the year. He gave one-word answers.

"He pretty much never looked me in the eye," Aust said.

In recent weeks his routine had changed. His roommates say he went to the campus gym at night, lifting weights to bulk up. He went for a haircut -- surprising them by coming back to the room with a military-style buzz cut.

Aust and another roommate, Karan Grewal, say they were aware that Cho had pursued women on campus. They said he also seemed to have an imaginary girlfriend, a supermodel named "Jelly."

Students say he seemed as quiet as ever in the days before Monday's rampage.

Trey Perkins, a student who saw Cho during the shooting spree, said it was unreal, "being that close to a monster."

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures


TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 44 > § 922

§ 922. Unlawful acts


(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—

...

(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;

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The-Fly
April 18, 2007, 04:37 PM
what a horrible waste. Because some bureaucratic idiot didn't enter Cho into the denied person database, he was able to pass the 4473 and we all know what happened. Once again, big government fails in even its basic responsibilities. :banghead:

DogBonz
April 18, 2007, 04:42 PM
Why was he not DEPORTED?

Is stalking not a crime in VA?

crazed_ss
April 18, 2007, 04:43 PM
This should have been in NICS right?

Seems someone dropped the ball.

solareclipse
April 18, 2007, 04:43 PM
i've already mentioned this this morning which is why i doubt it will actually result in anti gun legislation. the system failed, the laws are there to prevent it (on paper anyway).

PILMAN
April 18, 2007, 04:46 PM
Wow. Looks like I have more posting to do in defense of firearms on other forums.

davec
April 18, 2007, 04:46 PM
Why was he not DEPORTED?

Is stalking not a crime in VA?

If there was a restraining order against him, he would be prohibited from possessing a gun.

e:
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—

...

(8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that—
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and
(B)
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

El Tejon
April 18, 2007, 04:47 PM
And class who was reponsible for keeping mental health info from background checks?

Yes, of course, Teddy Kennedy.;)

davec
April 18, 2007, 04:49 PM
you have a source for that or just trying to make a wisecrack?

Neo-Luddite
April 18, 2007, 04:50 PM
It doesn't sound like he was committed, but that depends on the laws of the state also. Here in Illinois, he would have been gun free for at least five years.

Should we be looking at his status as an alien? Why had he not sought citizenship? His ownership under law is a privilege we confer at legal will under various state laws. No one seems to be asking if foreigners should have handguns. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it should be confered based on reciprocity between home country and the US.

ClonaKilty
April 18, 2007, 04:52 PM
So do we know exactly why he passed NICS? Was it a bureacratic oversight?

MrDig
April 18, 2007, 04:54 PM
He was in fact adjudicated Metally Ill if he was Court Ordered to a Mental Health Facility. How di this get overlooked on the 4473, also how did the OFP's get overlooked.

Zundfolge
April 18, 2007, 04:56 PM
Why was he not DEPORTED?
Because in general a non resident alien that lives here from the age of 8 until 23 is generally going to be treated like a citizen.

If he was "Ordered by a judge" into a mental health facility than his firearms purchases were illegal (not sure why that didn't show up on a NICS check).



How di this get overlooked on the 4473
He probably lied.

I'm not sure what depth of mental health records are available to NICS.

So I expect we'll see bills pushing our health records into NICS :rolleyes:

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 05:03 PM
Another one fell through the cracks of the mental health and judicial system. Why do people think the police and justice system will always protect them? Another strong endorsement for CCW, and I hope maybe some folks will get the clue rather than another weapons ban debacle.

El Tejon
April 18, 2007, 05:06 PM
Yeah, the Congressional Record, this is before the Our Lady of Piece proposal.

MikeH
April 18, 2007, 05:07 PM
A legal permanent resident can be deported after being convicted of felony or some misdemeanor charges. I don't know if stalking is included in the latter. Even if it is, deportation is a rather laborious procedure that the local DA probably won't do anyway.

MrDig
April 18, 2007, 05:26 PM
Fell through the cracks is a woefully inadequate response to the Families who lost loved ones.
How did the OFP's (orders for protection) "Fall through the Cracks" as well.
If this in fact the system that is to prevent this type of incident, is it our place to help fix it? I for one think it is. If we don't want any more intursion into our lives we need to fix the 4473 system.

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 05:30 PM
What if families decided that one criteria for choosing a college was that it allowed students with a CCW permit to carry in class and on campus? Weapons bans don't work. Screening by colleges don't work. Justice system and mental health systems, yes, woefully inadequate. Fact.

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 05:32 PM
Woefully inadequate but true. Having a false sense of security is also a woefully inadequate means of defense.

davec
April 18, 2007, 05:33 PM
Instead of talking about banning guns, we should shift the discussion to FIXING THE SYSTEM.

Everybody can get behind fixing the system.

The how's and why's can be argued about, but I'd rather be having that conversation then the conversation about more gun bans.

crazed_ss
April 18, 2007, 05:36 PM
Should we be looking at his status as an alien? Why had he not sought citizenship? His ownership under law is a privilege we confer at legal will under various state laws. No one seems to be asking if foreigners should have handguns. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it should be confered based on reciprocity between home country and the US.

No one is asking if foreigners should have guns isnt relevant to the discussion. His immigration status didnt drive him to kill those people. I imagine there are 1000's of resident aliens out there who enjoy firearms responsibly. No point in taking their rights away because of one nutcase.

mdao
April 18, 2007, 05:39 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18169776/

Police obtained a temporary detention order from a local magistrate, and in December of that year, Cho was voluntarily but briefly admitted to Carilion St. Albans Behavioral Health Center in Radford, NBC News’ Jim Popkin reported.

...

According to a doctor’s report accompanying the order, which was first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cho was “depressed,” but “his insight and judgment are normal.” The doctor, a clinical psychologist who was not identified, noted that Cho “denies suicidal ideations.”

He was never ruled mentally defective and voluntarily admitted to a mental health institution. It would be very dangerous if you could be denied on a NICS check because of this.

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 05:42 PM
By the time the 4473 is in effect, the individual has already shown his/her true colors. NICS checks OK. He can still use a knife a bat, his car, his hands. And she can get a body guard for when she goes shopping, and on and on. if he wants to get to her, he will find a way, 4473 or not.

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 05:51 PM
Trying to fix the systems, looking at past government actions, always involves restricting the freedoms of others, who have not commited a crime. Increasing the government systems, hiring more people to protect citizens, hiring more people in the mental health system won't happen because it is not cost effective to them. Do we want more restrictions on law abiding people, more weapons bans?

Zundfolge
April 18, 2007, 05:57 PM
Instead of talking about banning guns, we should shift the discussion to FIXING THE SYSTEM.

I agree ... the system needs to be fixed.

Now lets have a few thousand hours of debate on what "fixed" means.



One man's "fixed" is another man's "eliminated" is yet another man's "empowered".



But I'm all for "fixing" government they way one "fixes" a puppy.

bearmgc
April 18, 2007, 06:03 PM
I like the joke in Wyoming, and seen it in Texas, where a guy goes into a grocery store and pulls out a gun saying "this is a stickup", and instantly, no less than a dozen customers pull out their CCWs and hold them on the gunman. An armed socity is a polite society. What if that student Cho, had half an inkling that students in the classroom could end his game before it started, or that the gals he was stalking, could stop him dead if he even tried to approach them? Would he try anyways, knowing he probably could not exact some imaginary revenge before feeling the pain of a bullet?

cassandrasdaddy
April 18, 2007, 09:37 PM
The details of Cho's hospitalization were outlined in court documents in Montgomery County, Va. The documents showed that Cho was taken to a hospital in Christiansburg, near the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, on the night of Dec. 13, 2005. But, after a doctor reported that Cho denied having suicidal thoughts, a court magistrate ordered him released for outpatient treatment, court documents show.

The order, signed by Montgomery County, Va., Special Justice Paul M. Barnett, checked a box that said Cho "presents an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness." But Barnett checked another box that said involuntary hospitalization was not necessary.


and a magistrate is a far cry from a judge

Bartholomew Roberts
April 18, 2007, 10:24 PM
Be careful what you wish for folks... remember that one of the bills McCarthy has sponsored (with NRA support) is a bill updating NICS to include this type of information. We have had that discussion already and many here were opposed to it then.

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