Va. Tech photographer recovers missing equipment

VIRGINIA — A Virginia Tech University student newspaper photographer whose camera equipment was confiscated during the April 16 shooting on campus had it returned days later after a lawyer contacted the police on his behalf.

Collegiate Times Photo Editor Shaozhuo Cui was taking pictures near Norris Hall, the building in which Seung-Hui Cho allegedly shot and killed 30 students and professors before taking his own life, when police seized the equipment.

Officers apprehended Cui, who, like Cho, is of Asian decent, because he matched the gunman’s description, according to an April article in the Collegiate Times.

Cui was released two hours later but without his camera, camera bag and the two forms of identification police had taken from him, he said in statement released after the incident. He said he was told his possessions would be returned at a later time, according to the statement.

Officers returned the camera about three days later after the newspaper’s lawyer negotiated with police to get it back, said Kelly Furnas, editorial adviser for the Collegiate Times.

“Best we could tell, there was no damage to anything,” he said.

Furnas said he did not think police searched the camera bag, which contained film and digital equipment. Cui said he did not know whether his belongings had been inspected.

“Maybe they made a copy, but I really have no way to tell,” Cui said in a phone interview.

But Cui is still missing one item.

“They still have my computer mouse,” Cui said. “I asked the captain who gave me my camera back [for the mouse], and he said, ‘You know, you can get a mouse anywhere.'”

Cui said he does not plan to continue pursuing the missing property.

By Jenny Redden, SPLC staff writer

  • Student photographer detained during Virginia Tech crisis, equipment confiscated News Flash, 4/17/2007