Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Posted: 4/23/2007 11:57:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2007 12:04:04 PM EDT by vrwc0915]
www.wsls.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSLS%2FMGArticle%2FSLS_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173350891084&path=!news!localnews

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech gunman who with deadly efficiency gunned down 32 students and teachers Monday apparently practiced his craft at a remote outdoor shooting range 8 miles from his dormitory.

"I can't hardly remember a name but I never forget a face and it was him," Randy Elmore said Friday as he scavenged shell casings from a Jefferson National Forest shooting range where he said he witnessed Seung-Hui Cho practicing his marksmanship.

In the weeks before the deadly shootings, Cho familiarized himself with a handgun firing at a cardboard box 25 yards away under the brow of Brush Mountain, Elmore said.

In addition, Elmore said he recognized a young woman from the range whose picture was among those of the Virginia Tech victims. He did not know her identity. Search warrants suggest that Radford student Karl David Thornhill and Tech student Heather Haugh could have crossed paths with Cho on the range. Haugh was the roommate of Emily Hilscher of Woodville, who lived in a Virginia Tech dormitory near Cho's and was one of his first two victims.

Elmore, 54, a rugged man with gnarled hands and an aching back, said he immediately recognized Cho on Wednesday night when his image, a gun in each hand and a grimace on his face, appeared on television screens across the country.

"I was in my trailer talking with my girlfriend on the phone and I said to her, 'Hold on. There he is.' "

Earlier that day, Elmore said men who identified themselves as agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives appeared on the shooting range saying they were investigating the college shootings.

A Virginia State police spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the site west of Blacksburg was of interest and a spokesman for ATF did not immediately return a call asking for comment.

Elmore's claim, if substantiated, though, could help account for Cho's movements and habits in the weeks before the shootings, a period of time about which little has been made public by authorities.

"He never said nothing. He wouldn't look at nobody and would fire off maybe a box of shells and then leave," said Elmore who collects brass shell casings from the range and redeems them for scrap money.

"I get maybe $1.10 a pound," Elmore said, noting that he dismisses inch-long .22 caliber casings for larger, more valuable .30 and .45 caliber scrap. "You pick up a thousand of .22's and maybe fill the bottom of a five-gallon bucket," Elmore explained.

That made Cho a person of noninterest for Elmore. "He didn't shoot nothing but .22's; at least I never heard a pop that sounded bigger."

Elmore said he saw Cho about three times in the past six weeks. He never saw a vehicle or clothing any more provocative than a pair of jeans. But during those weeks, Elmore said, Cho's hair had not been shaved close to his head, the style the 23-year-old senior apparently affected for Monday's rampage.

But Elmore added another element of mystery about Cho, noting that the federal agents said they were specifically looking for .50 caliber casings. That size of shell takes a large rifle to fire, a type of weapon that has not figured publicly in the investigation of the slayings.

Elmore and students said that the shooting range in the federal park is a popular hangout for Virginia Tech students. Bare of amenities, the range features a single row of wooden shooting tables and a 100-yard deep shooting area. It is unlighted and warns shooters not to fire at electronic equipment such as cell phones and other sorts of electronic gadgetry because they can contain contaminated materials. The range is strewn with shotgun casings, beer and soda cans filled with bullet and pellet holes, and all sorts of trash. There is a metal cylinder for donations to help keep up a roadway leading to the site.

While Cho's shooting prowess is likely of little investigative use to authorities, contacts he made on the range, or people he was attracted to or met, could be significant.

A search warrant filed last week in Montgomery County Circuit Court to search Thornhill's Blacksburg residence for guns makes that clear.

Obtained by the Virginia Tech Police Department on Monday, the warrant shows that Hilscher's roommate told police that she, Haugh, had fired weapons at a range with Hilscher's boyfriend Thornhill "as recent as two weeks ago."

A police affidavit accompanying the warrant did not specify what range or say if Hilscher had fired weapons, too. It identified the roommate as Heather "Haughn," apparently Virginia Tech student Heather Haugh.

Haugh has not responded to requests for comment. Thornhill has also not returned calls or e-mails.

Police have stressed this week that Thornhill was no longer a person of interest.
but we will still search his home ????
Cho owned two handguns, according to authorities. He bought his weapons at different places. He purchased the Walther P22, a .22-caliber handgun, from an online seller and picked it up at JND Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg on Feb. 9.

More than a month later - Virginia law limits gun purchases to one a month - Cho bought the second handgun, a 9mm Glock 19. He bought it at Roanoke Firearms in Roanoke, about 30 miles north of Tech. He used a credit card to pay the $571 for the gun.

Bill McKelway is a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 11:59:22 AM EDT
on them looking for 50 cal, but the rest? meh.

ZOMG he also probably ate at McDonalds once or 50 times~
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:02:04 PM EDT
What exactly are they looking for.. very weird

and what up with the search warrant of the unrelated guy..... do they think there were more shooters or just an excuse to harrass all gun owners ?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:04:25 PM EDT
I wouldn't put it past them to make up some lies about a .50 having been used in order to drum up sentiment toward banning them. The feds and polis have had a hard on for banning .50 for a while now. i guess it's time for me to pick one up as an investment.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:04:38 PM EDT
What exactly would they do if they found .50 cal brass? Try to match it to a gun they don't have?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:05:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By clement:
What exactly would they do if they found .50 cal brass? Try to match it to a gun they don't have?



they'll probably report that cho sniped all his victims with a barrett .50 from 10 miles away.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:06:35 PM EDT
Slightly off topic but who wastes 2 bucks a shot to shoot .50BMG at 100 yards?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:07:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:
on them looking for 50 cal, but the rest? meh.

ZOMG he also probably ate at McDonalds once or 50 times~


Ronald McDonald is now a person of interest...
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:07:46 PM EDT
ZOMG the super duper evil .50 !!! it can kill from 25 miles away by itself! they're uber dangerous, since the heatseeking tip searches mostly for women and children before delivering its evil mayhem
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:11:33 PM EDT
well, we can scratch off the "one gun a month" rule as useless, anti law abiding citizen, piece of legislation...
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 12:28:56 PM EDT
He was practicing for the ARFCOM mass satellite shoot-down.

OMGZORZ
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:00:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
Police have stressed this week that Thornhill was no longer a person of interest.
but we will still search his home ????


When the warrants were filed for he was still being listed as a person of interest. It was this week, after the warrants were served, that he has been cleared in the investigation.



When it comes to looking for .50 casings; did Cho write anything about training on one or planning to use one?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:02:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
Police have stressed this week that Thornhill was no longer a person of interest.
but we will still search his home ????


When the warrants were filed for he was still being listed as a person of interest. It was this week, after the warrants were served, that he has been cleared in the investigation.



When it comes to looking for .50 casings; did Cho write anything about training on one or planning to use one?


Do I understand this correctly:
he was a suspect/POI
warrants were filed and served
then he was cleared
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:04:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
Police have stressed this week that Thornhill was no longer a person of interest.
but we will still search his home ????


When the warrants were filed for he was still being listed as a person of interest. It was this week, after the warrants were served, that he has been cleared in the investigation.



When it comes to looking for .50 casings; did Cho write anything about training on one or planning to use one?


Do I understand this correctly:
he was a suspect/POI
warrants were filed and served
then he was cleared


That is what I got from all accounts I have heard.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:05:39 PM EDT
Maybe he had a Desert Eagle...?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:06:48 PM EDT

When it comes to looking for .50 casings; did Cho write anything about training on one or planning to use one?



No, but by the end of it, they will say some shit like he planned to shoot down the space shuttle or something like that.

Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:10:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AFARR:
Maybe he had a Desert Eagle...?


that is what I was thinking....
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:18:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JBravo223:

Originally Posted By AFARR:
Maybe he had a Desert Eagle...?


that is what I was thinking....


I dont know if he could shell out the money for one.
But I don't know.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:29:48 PM EDT
Not clear if they're looking for 50AE or 50BMG. Either way didn't seem like Cho spent a lot of money, so why would he buy either? Sounds like some federal agents wanted to make themselves look busy so they concocted some search warrants to harrass gun owners.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:37:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kap_x:

Originally Posted By JBravo223:

Originally Posted By AFARR:
Maybe he had a Desert Eagle...?


that is what I was thinking....


I dont know if he could shell out the money for one.
But I don't know.


He used a CC so he could afford anything within his CC limit.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:38:38 PM EDT
Why should the Feds ignore a perfectly good opportunity to harass gun owners? After all, as long as their "investigation" can be claimed to be related to the VT shooting, how could anyone object to a search? It would be easy enough to vilify that person in the press... "We cannot release details of our investigation, but it is critical that we take custody of Mr. (Fill in blank here>'s firearms and other evidence that may be incidental to this investigation. Mr. XYZ's reluctance to cooperate is highly suspicious,a nd will cause even more law enforcement agencies to look closely into his past and present circumstances. If you members of the public notice any other gun crazies acting in a potentially threatening manner, such as possessing assault weapons, buying high-capacity clips, buying large quantities of ammo, or making incendiary quotes from that ancient document Bill of Rights, please call 800-4NO-GUNS Your complete confidentiality is assured, and you may receive a $1000 reward for helping with the apprehension of any gun nuts who are preparing to shoot up another school!"
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:39:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2007 1:40:38 PM EDT by RyanHK21Owner]
I heard from the Government you can shoot down planets and satellites in space with .50 cal fully automatic assault revolvers...

I WANT ONE...


Insert pic of guy holding .50 cal fake revolver for demonstration...
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:42:46 PM EDT
He may have shot down the space shuttle Columbia over Texas with a .50



fred
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:43:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jnojr:
Why should the Feds ignore a perfectly good opportunity to harass gun owners?



So who has been harassed?
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:43:36 PM EDT
Ban firing ranges, for the children.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:44:04 PM EDT
We also know that anyone who goes to a shooting range is practicing for a massacre.

The news said so
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:52:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By jnojr:
Why should the Feds ignore a perfectly good opportunity to harass gun owners?


So who has been harassed?


How about the guy who gets to have his house searched because somebody thinks he might have shot at the same range that this Cho lunatic was seen? We'll even leave the whole .50 caliber thing for later, since we have no idea how many people are going to be "investigated" even though no .50 firearm was used at VT.
Link Posted: 4/23/2007 1:57:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jnojr:

Originally Posted By NCPatrolAR:

Originally Posted By jnojr:
Why should the Feds ignore a perfectly good opportunity to harass gun owners?


So who has been harassed?


How about the guy who gets to have his house searched because somebody thinks he might have shot at the same range that this Cho lunatic was seen?


And whose home has been searched just because they were at a range? Thornhill's home was searched because he was being viewed as the primary suspect in the intial murders due to his relationship with the female victim AND it was known that he had firearms. And if I'm not mistaken, that warrant was completed by local officers, not federal agents.
Top Top