Published January 13, 2015
This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 17, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: What made the 23-year-old Virginia Tech student snap? Clearly a very troubled young man.
The Chicago Tribune reports he was taking medication for depression, he was prone to violent behavior, and also he reportedly bought one gun on March 13 in Roanoke, Virginia, and then bought the second gun within the last week.
So, did he crack? Or could he have been planning this school massacre all along? With me now is FOX News senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, former NYPD Detective Bo Dietl, and criminologist Dr. Casey Jordan.
So Dr. Jordan, I'll start with you. I mean, from what we've heard, these plays he was writing, his sort of troubled past of violence and this acquisition of weapons recently, does this seem like a planned operation?
DR. CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: It's sounding a lot more like a typical school shooting, today, than it did yesterday when we weren't clear if he was a student or if there were two shooters. We do know that the typical university and school shooter is going to be any male, usually of young age — again, he's 23 — and usually with a troubled past. A loner, an outcast. You're talking about somebody who was probably ostracized long before he went to Virginia Tech, and in fact, this acquisition of weaponry is completely in keeping with the typical school shooter that we talked about.
GIBSON: My judge and detective probably have something to say about this, too. The purchase records, Bo, show that he bought a gun, and within, you know, a month later, when he was entitled to buy a second one, under Virginia law, he was there promptly to get a second one. So, it appears maybe that this premeditation goes back five weeks.
BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Very possibly. You know, as far as looking at this whole thing again, and looking at, you know, you have a student there, and not a popular person, he didn't know anybody. He attended school, and no one even knew he attended and supposedly in his classroom when they asked him to do papers, he would draw something on a thing and give it back to the teacher. I've heard that so far. So he was just existing in that classroom. He probably had no social involvement with anybody. He may have seen some gals that he was attracted to and they weren't attracted to him. So his whole world in his head was just ending, and he didn't feel like anything but, let me make my mark and let me take out as many of these people who are enjoying college, having parties, having a good time. I'm not, I'm sitting in my room at my computer and I'm not having a good time. But that keeps building up and if there's drugs involved, it takes him off to another tangent, and that gives him the gumption and the actions to do these thing. And once it starts, you killed two people, then 20, 30 more, what's the difference?
GIBSON: Judge, you know, we're talking about looking at his plays, looking at these notes. If you were sitting on the case, and the guy had survived, and he as on trial, would we be able to say, look at this play he wrote where he's talking about killing the teachers, look at this other play he wrote where he's talking about killing the students.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FNC SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Oh sure, you could use that if he had survived and was on trial to show his state of mind. You could also use it to show a pattern or a plan or a manifestation of what he intended to do. Isn't it true that you wrote what your plans were in the guise of a play? Absolutely. The doctor's people use this stuff to try to help them come together and Bo's people, as well, where they profile so that they can predict who the likely candidate for this is the next time, before it happens. But in retrospect, it reinforces what we could have wished that we predicted two days ago.
GIBSON: What we also are talking about is this record of his gun purchases. Under Virginia law, you have to wait four weeks before you can make a second purchase. He waited almost precisely four weeks. And we're wondering does it — Bo seems to think it does — prove premeditation? From a judge's point of view?
NAPOLITANO: Oh sure, it demonstrates premeditation because he probably realized that he would need two weapons in order to take out the number of people that he was going to take out. Now, he had magazines with a clip holding extra ammunition, because he did stop to reload, but obviously, having two guns lets him make a tremendous impact before he has to reload. Again, this would be showing planning and plotting, which makes it obviously capital murder, which, had he lived, would have exposed him to the death penalty.
GIBSON: Dr. Jordan, when these professors look at these plays and say, whoa, look what this kid's writing, and they try to get some help for him and he refuses it, what should somebody have done at this point? Should there have been some intervention?
JORDAN: John, I'm glad you asked that, because universities are very cognizant of their troubled students these days. They really do make an effort. I had extremely troubled students, but I have to tell you, beyond referring them to the counseling center, I can't force them to go.
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