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Massacre at Virginia Tech Leaves 33 DeadSalem-News.com
Report: Gunman was a student a Virginia Tech.
(BLACKSBURG, Va.) - Two shooting incidents on the Virginia Tech campus Monday left 33 dead. The deadliest mass shooting rampage in U.S. history.
Thirty-one, including the gunman, died at Norris Hall; two died at West Ambler Johnston Hall. Fifteen other victims from Norris are being treated at area hospitals.
Officials are in the process of identifying victims and notifying next-of-kin. Names will not be released until that process is complete.
Virginia Tech's president told the Associated Press on Tuesday that a university student was the gunman in at least the second of the two campus attacks. Though he did not explicitly say the student was also the gunman in the first shooting, he said he did not believe there was another shooter.
The identity of the gunman is still not immediately known.
Law enforcement reported yesterday that he killed himself inside Norris Hall by a shot to the head and used a 9 mm handgun and a .22 caliber handgun.
Hospital officials say some of the victims have multiple gunshot wounds, however all of the victims are now in stable condition, and some will be leaving today.
This only includes victims which have so far been specifically cited in the media.
First Shooting, West Ambler Johnston Hall Dormitory
Emily J. Hilscher, 18, a freshman from Woodville in Rappahannock County, Virginia and the murderer's girlfriend.
Ryan C. Clark, 22, a senior from Augusta, Georgia. A resident adviser at the West Ambler Johnston Hall Dormitory, he was killed in the dormitory as he rushed over to investigate what was going on when he came upon the gunman, according to a student who lives on the fourth floor, where the first shootings took place.
Second Shooting, Norris Hall Engineering Building
The university remains closed Tuesday. Essential personnel are to report for work. Classes are canceled.
A public gathering will be held Tuesday at Cassell Coliseum at 2:00 PM.
University President Charles W. Steger said "The university was struck today with a tragedy of monumental proportions. The university is shocked and horrified that this would befall our campus. I want to extend my deepest, sincerest and most profound sympathies to the families of these victims which include students."
The university received bomb threats as recently as last Friday, but officials are not drawing a connection at this point.
Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine has declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia, directing state agencies to take all necessary actions to aid in the response and recovery following Monday’s shootings at Virginia Tech.
A declaration of emergency allows the Governor to immediately deploy state personnel, equipment, and other resources, and to coordinate state and local response in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. “State agencies, including State Police and the Virginia Departments of Health and Emergency Management, are doing everything possible to be of assistance to those who were injured, and those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy,” Governor Kaine said.
The Virginia State Police are on-scene in Blacksburg investigating the shootings in cooperation with local law enforcement. The Department of Health has sent the Chief Medical Examiner and additional personnel to the area to assist with the fatalities.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has sent staff to the scene to advise and assist local emergency managers and first responders.
The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating state level assistance. In addition, the state will help coordinate crisis counseling assistance for those in need.
Separately, Governor Kaine has ordered the lowering of the Virginia state flag in honor of those who were killed or injured in Monday’s shootings.
There are many questions circulating about what is described as a slow police response. Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum, says his officers initially believed that they were dealing with an isolated incident that had taken place in a dorm.
When he was asked why students weren't alerted to the imminent danger from a man with a gun, he said, "They had reason to believe the shooter had left the campus."
The chief did acknowledge that while he didn't witness it personally, some of the doors at Norris Hall had been chained closed from the inside, indicating that a plan may been in place to slow police response.
Police say the gunman was found dead on campus, they are unsure of his connection to Virginia Tech or if he might have been a student.
Chief Flimchum says that while it was unclear in the beginning, they are now sure that gunman did take his own life.
At least one weapon was found with the dead shooter. More details on the weapons he possessed are not being released at this time. Some media groups reported that the man carried two nine millimeter pistols.
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20th, 1999, at Columbine High School in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado, near Denver and Littleton.
Two teenage students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, carried out a shooting rampage, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 24 others, before committing suicide.
It is the third-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after Monday’s Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre.
Charles Joseph Whitman was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a Marine, who is known for having ascended The University's 27-story tower on August 1st, 1966, and shooting passersby in the city and on the campus below, after having killed his mother and his wife the night before.
In all Whitman killed 15 people and wounded 31 others before he was shot dead by Austin police.
Tragedy at Virginia Tech - Timeline of Events
Virginia Tech Police Department (VT PD) receives a 911 call to respond to a dormitory room at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall.
Within minutes, Virginia Tech Police and Virginia Tech Rescue Squad respond to find two gunshot victims, a male and a female, inside a dormitory room within the Hall. The residence hall was immediately secured by VT PD and students within the hall were notified and asked to remain in their rooms for their safety. VT PD immediately secured the room for evidence collection and began questioning dorm residents and identifying potential witnesses. In the preliminary stages of the investigation, it was believed the deaths were an isolated incident, domestic in nature.
Blacksburg Police Department were also on scene assisting VT PD with establishing a safety perimeter around the residence hall and securing Washington Street.
7:30 AM Investigators were following up on leads concerning a person of interest in relation to the double homicide. Investigators from VT PD and Blacksburg PD were actively following up on various leads.
Virginia Tech Leadership Team, which includes the university president, executive vice president, and provost, assembled to begin assessing the developing situation at the residence hall and determining a means of notifying students of the homicide.
Leadership Team was briefed on the situation by VT PD Chief W.R. Flechum on the latest developments in the ongoing investigation at the residence hall.
The Virginia Tech community – all faculty and students – were notified by e-mail of the homicide investigation and scene at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall, and asked to report any suspicious activity to. The Virginia Tech Emergency/Weather Line recordings were also transmitted and a broadcast telephone message was made to campus phones. A press release was drafted and posted on the Virginia Tech Website.
9:45 AM The VT PD received a 911 call of a shooting at Norris Hall, which contains faculty offices, classrooms and laboratories. VT PD and Blacksburg PD immediately responded to Norris Hall. Notice in leadership command center via our police rep of a shooting in Norris.
Upon arrival to Norris Hall, the officers found the front doors barricaded. Within a minute the officers breached the doors, which had been chained shut from the inside.
Once inside the building, the officers heard gunshots. They followed the succession of gunshots to the second floor. Just as the officers reached the second floor, the gunshots stopped.
The officers discovered the gunman, who had taken his own life. There was never any engagement between the responding officers and the gunman.
By the same means as prior notice, Virginia Tech notified campus community of the second murder scene. Other notifications followed via other means.
See the other Salem-News.com reports on the Virginia Tech school shooting:
Articles for April 16, 2007 | Articles for April 17, 2007 | Articles for April 18, 2007