- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Virginia Tech killer went on EBay to buy ammunition magazines for one of the types of guns he used in his rampage, a spokesman for the auction site confirmed yesterday. Meanwhile, Monday’s victims were eulogized from Virginia to as far away as Egypt.

As investigators tried to understand the motives behind Monday’s killings, friends and relatives of Emily Hilscher and Ryan Clark — the first two students killed — honored them yesterday at services in Virginia and Georgia. Services also were held for students Reema Samaha and Rachael Elizabeth Hill, two of the 30 persons Seung-hui Cho killed at Norris Hall, a classroom building where he committed suicide.

More than 1,800 people gathered at a Chantilly church yesterday to remember Miss Samaha.

In Lincoln, R.I., about 100 people memorialized Daniel Patrick O’Neil, 22, a first-year graduate student in environmental engineering.

In Egypt, hundreds of mourners wailed and chanted yesterday as they walked with a green wooden coffin in the funeral procession for a graduate student killed in the Virginia Tech massacre.

Earlier, Waleed Mohammed Shaalan’s body arrived aboard an Egypt Air flight from New York. His father and uncle accompanied the body as it was transported to his home village in the northern Nile delta province of Sharqiya for a traditional Muslim funeral.

Mr. Shaalan, 32, had been at Virginia Tech on a scholarship since August studying for a Ph.D. in civil engineering. A day before the massacre, he called home and told his family he intended to visit Egypt next month to bring his wife and 15-month-old son back with him to Virginia.

The graduate student was credited with distracting gunman Cho to save the life of a fellow student during the rampage.

Using the name blazers5505 on the Internet, Cho bought two 10-round magazines for the Walther P22 — one of two types of handguns used in the massacre of 32 persons. The magazines were purchased March 22 from a gun shop in Idaho.

“It’s apparent that he purchased the empty magazine clips,” EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said. “They’re similar to what could be purchased in any sporting goods store around the country.”

On EBay and affiliated sites, Cho also sold several books with violent themes, tickets to Hokies football games, and a graphics calculator that contained several games.

“The calculator was used for less than one semester then I dropped the class,” he wrote.

Cho’s EBay feedback rating from other users was 98.5 percent. Only one person gave him a negative rating.

On the EBay-affiliated Web site half.com, several books were listed for sale under the screen name blazers5505.

They include “Men, Women, and Chainsaws” by Carol J. Clover, a book that explores gender in the modern horror film. The publisher’s note reads: “Do the pleasures of horror movies really begin and end in sadism?”

Others include “The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre,” by H.P. Lovecraft; and “The Female of the Species: Tales of Mystery and Suspense” by Joyce Carol Oates — a book in which the publisher writes: “In these and other gripping and disturbing tales, women are confronted by the evil around them and surprised by the evil they find within themselves.”

Books by those three authors were taught in his Contemporary Horror class, meaning he could have been merely selling the used books at the end of the semester.

Andy Koch, Cho’s college suitemate from 2005 to 2006, said he never saw Cho receive or send a package. He said if a student receives a package from FedEx or UPS, it is usually delivered to the dorm, and a note is left on the door if the student is away.

Cho’s computers likely will hold records of any e-mail communications. But they could also show the topics he researched, online purchases he made, his essays and diaries and photos.

Investigators also are seeking his cell-phone records on the theory that he may have warned someone about what would become the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“Seung-hui Cho is known to have communicated by cellular telephone and may have communicated with others concerning his plans to carry out attacks on students and faculty at Virginia Tech,” police wrote Friday in an affidavit seeking records from cellular service provider Verizon Wireless.

A spokesman for Verizon Wireless, Jeffrey Nelson, declined to comment yesterday.

Mona Samaha, mother of victim Miss Samaha, said yesterday her daughter was the family’s prima ballerina. A cousin at the Chantilly church service said the 18-year-old student could take any tense situation and lighten the mood.

Several Eastern Rite religious clerics led the crowd in prayers, chants and hymns during a 40-minute service. Her funeral is scheduled for tomorrow in McLean.

Some 100 members of the Virginia Tech marching band were set to play in a memorial service yesterday for their bandmate, Mr. Clark. A 22-year-old native of Martinez, Ga., Mr. Clark was among the first to die in Monday’s massacre. He was a resident adviser in the dormitory where the shooting spree started.

Mr. Clark was in his fifth year in the Marching Virginians band at Virginia Tech, which traveled to Evans, Ga., for the service at Lakeside High School. Mr. Clark and his twin brother, Bryan, graduated from there in 2002.

Before the service started, the high school’s gym was packed with people wearing maroon-and-orange ribbons, Virginia Tech’s colors, or green ribbons, Mr. Clark’s favorite color.

Mr. Clark’s funeral is planned for tomorrow at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga.

Miss Hilscher was killed about the same time and in the same dorm as Mr. Clark.

More than 1,500 people yesterday filled a football field in Washington, Va., to celebrate her life.

She was known for her love of horses, and Miss Hilscher’s mother said Emily “was not happy unless she smelled of horse manure.”

Several people came in riding outfits, and a hunting horn was played at the end of the service.

Mrs. Hilscher said she last saw her daughter a week ago for her 19th birthday, and as she was leaving, Emily smiled and waved, giving her mother the urge to stop and give her one last hug.

“I wish I had,” Mrs. Hilscher said.

Reuters yesterday reported in Narrows, a tiny factory town about 30 miles from the university, some 800 mourners filled the high school auditorium to overflowing for the funeral of Jarrett Lane, 22, an engineering student who would have graduated in May.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on its Internet News Blog that the friends and family of Austin Michelle Cloyd gathered yesterday afternoon at the Blacksburg Baptist Church for her memorial service. The church is a five-minute walk from Norris Hall, where she was killed on Monday.

Cho’s family slipped back from the spotlight a day after issuing a powerful apology for his actions.

His sister, Sun-kyung Cho, said she and her parents are “living a nightmare.” It was the Cho family’s first public comment since Monday’s massacre. At the request of the family, many news services, including The Washington Times, now refer to the shooter as Seung-hui Cho. Earlier stories had referred to him as Cho Sueng-hui.

“I actually feel sympathy towards their family,” said Virginia Tech freshman Andrea Hacker, 19. “A lot of people are probably looking down on them now, but they have no reason to.

“It’s got to be tragic for them as well. They’re going through just as much grief as we are, plus the added pressure of having a brother do this.”

While Cho clearly was troubled and had been taken to a psychiatric hospital more than a year ago as a threat to himself, investigators are still trying to establish exactly why he chose a dormitory and a classroom building for his rampage and how he selected his victims.

Seven persons injured in the rampage remained hospitalized yesterday, at least one in serious condition.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine yesterday appointed a Roanoke judge and an expert on the rights of victims and on services for witnesses of crime to complete a panel that will study the Virginia Tech massacre.

Judge Diane Strickland, a specialist on the issue of involuntary commitment of people with mental problems, and Carroll Ellis of Fairfax will serve on the panel, Mr. Kaine’s office said.

• AP writers Kristen Gelineau and Allen G. Breed in Blacksburg, Va.; Michelle R. Smith in Providence, R.I.; Jonathan Landrum Jr. in Evans, Ga.; Ben Curtis in Egypt; and Bruce Meyerson in New York contributed to this report.

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