U.S. News

English Department Tried To Intervene Over VA Tech Killer's Writings

Where the Virginia Tech police only heard scattered reports of his harassing behavior, and mental health professionals knew of his suicidal tendencies, it was the English department -- where he was a major -- that read his writings and saw the images of persecution, revenge and anger that they revealed, many months before he erupted into violence on Monday and killed 32 people, as well as himself.

And those English professors and students appear to have worked harder than anyone to intervene in his life. Trying to balance the freedom needed to be creative against the warning signs of psychosis, as many as eight of his teachers in the last 18 months had formed what one called a "task force" to discuss how to handle him, gathering twice on the subject and frequently communicating among themselves.