Meet Joseph Cho, all Asian-American boy. Cho went to Yale undergrad, enlisted in the Army after 9/11, served 3 years and was given a honorable discharge [Link]. Now 31, Joe Cho is a law student at Penn. Thus far he sounds like the kind of good Asian kid that even the most xenophobic auntie and uncle would love to have over for tea. “He’s a good influence,” they might say.
However, earlier this month something went … wonky. Cho had a beef with some neighbors. That’s normal — I don’t like my next door neighbor either, he plays his shoot ‘em up video games late at night and disturbs my sleep. Usual apartment building stuff.
Cho’s beef, however, was a bit different from mine. He believed his neighbors, two desi men, were actually terrorists and decided to do something about it.
Police said Cho,… suspected the neighbors – two Indian men studying biomedical engineering at Drexel University – of being spies. On Wednesday afternoon, he sought to confront them. When no one answered his knock on their door, he shot the lock off with his Glock pistol, walked inside, and eventually left. [Link]
Gulp! His lawyer says his client was off his rocker:
His lawyer, Peter Bowers, said the attack on the men he believed were terrorists … “appears to have been a mental health or emotional issue…” Cho, meanwhile, was described as an “outstanding young man,” Bowers said. “It’s really an unfortunate incident…” [Link]
You know, the words tourism and terrorism sound so much alike, it’s an easy mistake to make. It could happen to anybody, really.
The university provost said:
“the student has been temporarily suspended from the law school. The matter will be reported to the Law School’s Committee on Student Conduct and Responsibility for its consideration…” [Link]
I suppose that’s a good first step. I wonder what you have to do to get kicked out of law school.
Me? I wonder if he’s been watching too much 24.
Update 1: See comment #20 by somebody who knows him
Update 2: It was racial, at least in part:
Walker said the Penn student, a Korean American, accosted the Drexel students yesterday morning as all were leaving the building, … When the Drexel students told the Penn student that they planned to return to India after their studies, the Penn student accused them of being spies, Walker said. [Link]
One of the students was actually in the apartment at the time:
… around noon, the Penn student “decided to engage in more conversation” and banged on the Drexel students’ door, Walker said. When he got no answer, he got his 9mm Glock handgun and emptied it into the lock, police said. Then he stepped inside, looked around, and left the building. Unbeknownst to the assailant, one of the Drexel students was cringing in his bedroom about 25 feet from the door. [Link]
Another neighbor called 911, and officers found the 22-year-old Drexel student still cowering inside the apartment, said police. [Link]
Somebody on a bulletin board who claims to be a fellow law student said:
I think this guy has been involved in at least one other racially charged incident at the law school recently. [Link]
And the final indignity — the mere mention of terrorism has meant that police anti-terrorism officers have been notified:
Police said … that investigators will notify police terrorism officials about the reason behind the shooting. [Link]