Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department, said Cho’s writing was so disturbing that he had been referred to the university’s counseling service. “Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it’s creative or if they’re describing things, if they’re imagining things or just how real it might be,” Rude said. “But we’re all alert to not ignore things like this.” She said she did not know when he was referred for counseling, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws. The counseling service refused to comment. Cho, who came to the United States from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., where his parents worked at a dry cleaners, left a note that was found after the bloodbath. A law enforcement official who read Cho’s note described it Tuesday as a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “You caused me to do this,” the official quoted the note as saying. Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done, the official said. He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity, the official said. The official said the letter was either found in Cho’s dorm room or in his backpack. The backpack was found in the hallway of the classroom building where the shootings happened, and contained several rounds of ammunition, the official said. Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said authorities were going through a considerable number of writings. Citing unidentified sources, the Chicago Tribune reported Cho had recently set a fire in a dorm room and had stalked some women. Monday’s rampage consisted of two attacks, more than two hours apart – first at a dormitory, where two people were killed, then inside a classroom building, where 31 people, including Cho, died. Two handguns – a 9 mm and a .22-caliber – were found in the classroom building. The Washington Post quoted law enforcement sources as saying Cho died with the words “Ismail Ax” in red ink on one of his arms, but they were not sure what that meant. According to court papers, police found a “bomb threat” note – directed at engineering school buildings – near the victims in the classroom building. In the past three weeks, Virginia Tech was hit with two other bomb threats, but investigators have not connected those earlier threats to Cho. Cho graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va., in 2003. His family lived in an off-white, two-story townhouse in Centreville, Va. At least one of those killed in the rampage, Reema Samaha, graduated from Westfield High in 2006. But there was no immediate word from authorities on whether Cho knew the young woman and singled her out. “He was very quiet, always by himself,” neighbor Abdul Shash said. Shash said Cho spent a lot of his free time playing basketball and would not respond if someone greeted him. Classmates painted a similar picture. Julie Poole, who shared two classes with Cho, didn’t even know his name until Tuesday. After his antics during the first day of British literature class last year, “we just really knew him as the question mark kid,” Poole said. Cho spent much of that class sitting in the back of the room, wearing a hat and seldom participating. In a small department, Cho distinguished himself for being anonymous. “He didn’t reach out to anyone. He never talked,” Poole said. One law enforcement official said Cho’s backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. Cho held a green card, meaning he was a legal, permanent resident. That meant he was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of a felony. Roanoke Firearms owner John Markell said his shop sold the Glock and a box of practice ammo to Cho 36 days ago for $571. “He was a nice, clean-cut college kid. We won’t sell a gun if we have any idea at all that a purchase is suspicious,” Markell said. Investigators stopped short of saying Cho carried out both attacks, although State Police ballistics tests showed one gun was used in both. Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information had not been announced, also said Cho’s fingerprints were on both guns, whose serial numbers had been filed off. Gov. Tim Kaine said he will appoint a panel at the university’s request to review authorities’ handling of the disaster. Parents and students bitterly complained that the university should have locked down the campus immediately after the first burst of gunfire and did not do enough to warn people. Kaine warned against making snap judgments and said he had “nothing but loathing” for those who take the tragedy and “make it their political hobby horse to ride.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! What was emerging was a chilling portrait of a 23-year-old loner who alarmed his professors with twisted creative writing and left a rambling note in his dorm room raging against women and rich kids. Even when authorities identified him in connection with the shooting that killed 33 people, including Cho, some classmates in the close-knit English department didn’t know for sure who he was until they saw his photograph. News reports said that he may have been taking medication for depression and that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic. A student who attended Virginia Tech last fall provided obscenity- and violence-laced screenplays that he said Cho wrote as part of a playwriting class. One was about a fight between a stepson and his stepfather, and involved throwing of hammers and attacks with a chainsaw. Another was about students fantasizing about stalking and killing a teacher who sexually molested them. “When we read Cho’s plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn’t have even thought of,” former classmate Ian MacFarlane, now an AOL employee, wrote in a blog posted on an AOL Web site. He said he and other students “were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter.” “We always joked we were just waiting for him to do something, waiting to hear about something he did,” said another classmate, Stephanie Derry. “But when I got the call it was Cho who had done this, I started crying, bawling.” BLACKSBURG, Va. – His classmates knew him only as “the question mark kid.” On the first day of class last year, when everyone introduced himself, Cho Seung-Hui sat sullenly in the back of the room and refused to speak. On the sign-in sheet, he had put only a question mark for his name. Everyone knew Cho’s name Tuesday after he was identified as the gunman in the worst shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, but his reason remained a question mark. “He was a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” school spokesman Larry Hincker said.