JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Indonesian mother bemoaned the availability of guns in the United States after learning her son was among those killed in a school massacre, while South Koreans expressed shame and shock that one of their own was the gunman.
Sympathetic messages for the 32 who died Monday along with the shooter at Virginia Tech — the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history — continued to ring out Wednesday from London to Beijing.
But few people were surprised, pointing to liberal U.S. gun laws.
Sugiyarti, an Indonesian woman who learned late Tuesday that her 34-year-old stepson was among those killed, broke down in tears as she begged for answers.
"Why can people bring guns to campus?" she said, recalling third-year doctoral student Partahi Lumbantoruan, who had shown so much promise. The family had sold property and a car to pay for his civil engineering studies.
"How is it possible that so many innocent people could be killed? How could it happen?" asked Sugiyarti, who goes by only one name.
Other foreign victims included Peruvian student Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, according to his mother Betty Cueva, who said her son was studying international relations.
Teachers from Israel and Canada also were killed.
India — which lost a lecturer — added a second victim to its toll: Minal Panchal, a 26-year-old master's student in building sciences, CNN-IBN news said Wednesday. She had been listed as missing before her body was found at Norris Hall.
"She was really passionate about architecture, about buildings and Ayn Rand was one of her favorite authors. She went to the U.S. to study building sciences," said Chetna Parekh, a friend from Mumbai.
The shootings were carried out by South Korean Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old student of English who killed himself after police closed in, and the case topped the front pages of nearly all newspapers in South Korea on Wednesday.
President Roh Moo-hyun offered condolences to victims for a third time and, among the South Korean public, a sense of despair prevailed.
"I and our people cannot contain our feelings of huge shock and grief," said the president. "I pray for the souls of those killed and offer words of comfort from my heart for those injured, the bereaved families and the U.S. people."
The shootings also drew intense media coverage in China, in part because the school has a relatively large number of Chinese students, and because some U.S. media blamed a Chinese student for the shootings in the immediate aftermath.
"Some U.S. media made irresponsible reports on the Virginia Tech shooting before finding out the truth, which violated their professional morals," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Virginia Tech classmates and professors painted Cho as a sullen loner, and said they were alarmed by his class writings — pages filled with twisted, violence-drenched writing.
In screenplays he wrote last fall, characters threw hammers and attacked with chain saws, said a recent graduate. In another, Cho concocted a tale of students who fantasized about stalking and killing a teacher who sexually molested them.
"When we read Cho's plays, it was like something out of a nightmare," former classmate Ian MacFarlane, now an AOL employee, wrote in a blog. "The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn't have even thought of."