A former student who killed five people at the University of Iowa wrote letters saying he planned to murder faculty members who did not nominate him for an academic honor, a prosecutor said Saturday.
"His state of mind was that of a premeditated, coldblooded murderer," Johnson County Atty. J. Patrick White said of Gang Lu, a former graduate student from China.
Lu, who killed himself after the 10-minute rampage Friday, shot and killed three faculty members and the student nominated for the honor. He then went to another building and shot a university administrator and staff member, who were critically wounded. The administrator died Saturday.
White said Lu wrote five three-page letters indicating he intended to kill members of the university's physics and astronomy department. They had bypassed his dissertation paper for an academic honor in favor of another Chinese graduate student.
The letters were addressed to news organizations and acquaintances but were not mailed before the shootings, White said. Lu gave the letters to five friends with instructions to mail them, but they handed them over to authorities who questioned them about Lu after the shootings, White said.
White did not say whether the friends knew the content of the letters.
"It leads me to the conclusion that . . . he premeditated and deliberated his actions. The actions that occurred . . . are consistent with what he said in the letter," he said.
Four of the letters--identical in content--were written in English and one was in Chinese, which authorities were trying to translate, White said.
Lu, who came to the United States from Beijing, had earned his doctorate in physics from the university. Disgruntled that his dissertation was not nominated for the university's D.C. Spriestersbach Award, he went on a shooting rampage in two buildings, university spokeswoman Ann Rhodes said.