ROANOKE, Va. – Recently discovered records show the Virginia Tech gunman denied homicidal thoughts to a school counselor nearly a year and half before the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
The missing files for Seung-Hui Cho were released Wednesday, nearly five weeks they were discovered at the home of the former director of the university's counseling center.
The files mostly contain forms from three counseling "triage" sessions released by Virginia Tech after his Cho's family agreed to make them public. Cho's family needed to give permission for the release because of privacy laws.
Cho denied the homicidal thoughts in a session with counselor Sherry Lynch Conrad on Dec. 14, 2005. On April 16, 2007, Cho killed 32 students and faculty members on campus and took his own life.
Cho met with Conrad at Cook Counseling Center after being detained in a mental hospital overnight because he had expressed thoughts of suicide.
"He denies suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts. Said the comment he made was a joke. Says he has no reason to harm self and would never do it," Conrad wrote.
That was Cho's last contact with the counseling center. The counselor wrote that she gave him emergency contact numbers and encouraged him to return the next semester in January, but he didn't make an appointment.
"My mother, father and I all agree that it is the correct thing to do to release the newly discovered medical records of my brother," Cho's sister, Sun Cho, said in a letter authorizing the release.
The files first turned up July 16, when former Cook Counseling Center director Robert C. Miller found them in his home while preparing for a civil suit filed against him, the university and others by two of the victims' families.
Miller said in a court filing that the file was in a manila folder along with several others, and he packed it up with his personal documents in late February or early March 2006 when he transferred from the center to another position at the university.