Note: Several bloggers have reported me to be an on campus blogger. I am actually an alumni who is now living in Fairfax, VA.
One person was killed and several were wounded in two shootings on the Virginia Tech university campus in Blacksburg on Monday, The Associated Press and the university reported.I lived in Pritchard Hall for two years, not far from Ambler Johnston Hall where one of the shootings took place. Most of my mechanical engineering classes were in Randolph Hall next to Norris Hall where the other shootings took place. This is very real to me.
A hospital spokeswoman told AP that 17 Virginia Tech students were being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries.The AP reported that one person was killed and one wounded in a shooting at a dormitory. Another shooting at Norris Hall, an engineering building, resulted in multiple casualties, the university reported.
I am listening to CNN as I am writing this and they just announced at least 20 students were killed in a second shooting in Norris Hall. There was at least one shooter who in now deceased. Details are still coming in.Please pray for the safety of the students, faculty, and law enforcement officials and for all the families and loved ones affected by this.
Virginia Tech has set-up a page with campus alerts and updates.
Update: Norris Hall is the Civil Engineering building and is across a large section of campus on the opposite side of the Drillfield. If the same shooter is responsible for both incidents, this is particularly bad as the Norris Hall shooting with the greatest casualties took place ~ 2 hours after the Ambler Johnston Hall shootings. If I understand the information coming in, classes had not been cancelled at this point, despite at least one fatality in Ambler Johnston Hall and a shooter on the loose. Students would have traversed a large part of campus with a killer still on the loose and no action taken to cancel classes or warn the students. I haven't seen these connections put together by the media yet, but this is the best sense I can make of what happened.
Update: Apparently the gunman was looking for his girlfriend, couldn't find her in the dorm and 2 hours later went to Norris Hall to look for her. She wasn't there so he started killing students execution-style.Here is a map of campus. The first shooting took place is Ambler Johnston Hall (32). The second shooting took place in Norris Hall (132) ~ 2 hours later. Note how large a distance had to be traversed by the shooter.
I lived in Prichard (31) and took classes in Randolph (133).
Update: This is officially the deadliest campus shooting in US history.
Update: Fox News is now reporting at least 32 fatalaties have been confirmed. See photos from campus here.
Update: The news is now reporting the gunman chained the doors to Norris Hall so students could not escape. Hot Air reports:
According to WaPo, this is now the deadliest shooting spree of any kind, on campus or off, in American history. And if Wikipedia is right, it’s already the third worst in modern world history.Pajamas Media, Michelle Malkin, and Instapundit have more coverage. I still can't believe this happened. Virginia Tech was my home for four years. I used to walk under the archway at Norris Hall almost on a daily basis.
Update: President Bush just issued a statement. He seemed a bit distracted and didn’t say much of relevance. He offered his condolences, prayers and support in the investigation of what happened. Somehow I was expecting a bit more... Virginia Tech is supposed to have another press conference at 4:30.
Update: How sadly ironic. Fairfax County Schools closed early today due to wind. Virginia Tech doesn't close when a known killer is on the loose.
Update: University President Charles Steger is currently speaking at a press conference on campus. Here are some highlights of what he and the police chief said:
- There are a total of 31 deaths in Norris Hall including the gunman.
- Another 15 students from Norris are being treated at hospitals.
- There are two confirmed deaths in the Ambler Johnson shooting.
- They are in the process of identifying victims and no names will be released until verified. A list should be released sometime tomorrow.
- The investigation continues if there is a connection between the first and second shootings. Strangely, no other suspects are being pursued.
- Recommmending parents not come to campus.
- No reasonable explanation for why classes weren't cancelled. Lots of questions essentially were dodged.
- They did not cancel classes because they thought the shooter left the campus and perhaps the state. (No explanation of why they thought this.)
- The gunman took his own life.
- Victims were shot at different locations around Norris Hall. (Not just one classroom.)
Update: Instapundit shares this touching image of the Virginia Tech flag at half mast:
Update: I just got home from GMU's campus a few minutes ago. I was wearing Virginia Tech campus today and one of the students invited me to join a prayer meeting one of the campus ministries was having. It was very touching and several of the students know some of the wounded. I sincerely appreciated their including me and their concern for those in Blacksbrug. In related news, Desiring God's blog has some Christian perspectives on the Virginia Tech tragedy. (HT Every Square Inch) Please join the students I met tonight in keeping the students, faculty, and families affected by the shootings today. Many people still don't know if their loved ones are safe and there are still many students in the hospital with no news on the severity of their condition.
Update: Here is an official timeline of events released by Virginia Tech.
Update: Wikipedia has a page on the Virginia Tech massacre which should continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
Update: The Chicago Sun-Times has some leads on the identity of the shooter:
Authorities were investigating whether the gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history was a Chinese man who arrived in the United States last year on a student visa.Update: The killer has been identified as an undergraduate student from South Korea:
The 24-year-old man arrived in San Francisco on United Airlines on Aug. 7 on a visa issued in Shanghai, the source said. Investigators have not linked him to any terrorist groups, the source said.
Police believe three bomb threats on the campus last week may have been attempts by the man to test the campus’ security response, the source said.
The individual has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui, 23. Cho was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, a South Korean native, was in the U.S. as a resident alien with a residence established in Centerville, Va. Cho was living on campus in Harper Residence Hall.
A 9-milimeter handgun and 22-caliber handgun were recovered from Norris Hall. Ballistic tests on the evidence seized from the Norris Hall and the West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall scenes were conducted at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lab in Maryland. Lab results confirmed that one of the two weapons seized in Norris Hall was used in both shootings.The names of the 32 deceased students and faculty will be released once all victims are positively identified and next-of-kin notified.
Classes are cancelled for the rest of the week and Norris Hall will be closed for the rest of the semester.There will be a convocation ceremony in Cassell Coliseum at 2 PM today. President Bush and Laura Bush will be in attendance.
Update: Wikipedia has a page about the shooter.President Bush has ordered all US flags to be flown at half-mast, both domestic and overseas, in honor of those killed.
Parents are demanding the firing of Virginia Tech's President and Police Chief.
Here is a photo of the shooter, Cho Seung-hui:
Update: Apparently Cho Seung-hui lived in the US since 1992. He and his family lived in Centreville, just a few miles from Fairfax. I can't imagine the horror his parents are experiencing right now.
Update: Engineering Science and Mechanics Professor Liviu Librescu was one of the heroes from yesterday:
A 76-year-old Romanian lecturer was hailed a hero after blocking his classroom door long enough for many of his students to escape the Virginia Tech gunman, before being shot dead.
Liviu Librescu pressed himself against the door of the classroom while shots were fired in the corridor and surrounding rooms. He stood firm, attempting to barricade the door, while his students clambered out of the windows.
Dr. Librescu was a Holocaust survivor.
I never took a class with Dr. Librescu, but took several in the ESM department and he would have been teaching while I was at Tech. See Dr. Librescu's webpage here.
Update: A live video stream of today's Convocation at 2 p.m. will be available at hokiesports.com.