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Grandfather says gunman's kin sought better life in U.S.
April 19, 2007 / 2:53 AM / 11 years ago

Grandfather says gunman's kin sought better life in U.S.

SEOUL (Reuters) - The family of the man who carried out the massacre at Virginia Tech university left South Korea 15 years ago with little money and big dreams of a better life in America, the shooter’s grandfather told two newspapers.

“They went to the States saying they wanted to raise their kids properly but I can’t believe this happened,” the man, who asked to be called Mr Kim, said in an interview published on Thursday in the daily Hankyoreh.

South Korean-born Cho Seung-Hui, 23, was identified on Tuesday as the gunman who killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech.

Kim, 81, who lives in Kyonggi province outside Seoul, said he had had little contact with his daughter -- Cho’s mother -- since they arrived in the United States.

Cho’s parents ran a used-book shop in Seoul until they left for the United States.

“They bought the tiny shop with the money my son-in-law made in Saudi Arabia before he got married,” Kim said.

However, immigration was not easy. “They made it onto the plane without much money.”

Kim said relatives of his son-in-law had invited the family to the United States, where they apparently worked as dry cleaners, adding: “They thought they would be able to educate their children well in the U.S”.

Kim’s sister said she remembered Seung-Hui as a quiet child.

“He was a good-looking boy but he wouldn’t talk. If I nudged him and tried to talk with him, he wouldn’t answer,” Kim Yang-soon, 84, told Reuters Television.

When grandfather Kim did speak with his daughter, her mood would brighten when she told him about her son and daughter. The daughter graduated from Princeton University.

Kim said he felt grief, anguish and sorrow over the shooting.

“Seung-Hui troubled his parents when he was young because he wouldn’t talk, but he was well-behaved. I don’t know how I can compensate for the responsibility for raising my kids improperly,” Kim told the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper.

He extended his deepest sympathies to the victims of the shooting and their families.

“I don’t know how he could do this when his parents went to a country far away and worked hard.”

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