Skip to comments.Virginia Tech Massacre Timeline
Posted on 04/17/2007 9:34:20 AM PDT by Candor7
Shooter at Tech massacre identified in bomb threat; 9 hospitalized; victims named Monday morning's campus rampage was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. These are the latest details to emerge.
Alan Kim | The Roanoke Times
At mid-day today, Blacksburg's South Main Street looks much the same as it always does.
Traffic is manageable. Businesses are open. But the flag at A Cleaner World drycleaner is at half mast.
Farther down the street, in downtown Blacksburg, it looks a little like a Virginia Tech Game Day. Plenty of students are crossing streets and walking along sidewalks. Almost every one of them is wearing an orange or maroon shirt or sweatshirt. Near Cassell Coliseum, there are marching band members on the sidewalk and more crowds of orange-and-maroon-clad students.
Not unlike Game Day, there's already a tremendously long line at the front doors of the coliseum. But these people waiting along Washington Street and down Spring Street are in line for the 2 p.m. convocation to mourn Monday's mass shooting that killed 33 people, including a shooter identified as 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, a senior majoring in English at Tech.
Someone is holding a sign that reads "Support Steger," a reference to Tech President Charles Steger, who with other officials has drawn criticism for the decision to continue classes after two students were found shot Monday morning. Two hours later, 31 more died by gunfire and 15 were injured, some as they leapt from classroom windows to escape.
By the coliseum, someone else holds a flag that reads "4-16-07 VT United."
Reporters are interviewing students. Uniformed members of the Corps of Cadets are gathering. Two fighter jets blast overhead, perhaps a precursor to President George Bush's planned attendance of the memorial event this afternoon.
Rachel Fleischmann, a 20-year-old Tech junior from Baltimore, and Maggie Peirce, a 21-year-old sophomore from Woodbine, Md., arrive at the coliseum in the back of a friend's pickup truck. They are carrying a plastic container of orange-and-maroon ribbons safety-pinned together into small loops. They plan to pass them out to people in line.
Peirce says, "We were up until 2 a.m. making these. We want to unite the students. A lot of bad things have been said about the school and we want people to know this is the best school."
They didn't personally know anyone involved in the shootings, though a friend's roommate was killed in Norris Hall, they say.
Fleischmann says that on their ride to the coliseum, they saw what they thought was Air Force One landing at the Montgomery-Virginia Tech Executive Airport, presumeably delivering the president.
"It's an honor for he and Mrs. Bush to be here," Fleishmann says. "We're excited they're here."
-- Reported by Ralph Berrier Jr.
Dateline correspondent and Virginia Tech grad Hoda Kotb's "Not at My Alma Mater" essay is here.
The town of Blacksburg has canceled all meetings and events today in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. Parks and rec events will proceed as scheduled, however.
Also, Blacksburg Transit is operating a special shuttle until 5 p.m. today between campus and the Inn at Virginia Tech. It can be boarded at Washington and Spring streets near Cassell Coliseum, or at the Inn.
A bomb threat directed at Virginia Tech engineering school department buildings was found Monday at the scene of the mass shooting at Norris Hall, an engineering building, according to a search warrant affidavit filed this morning in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
The affadavit said the suspect in the shootings, who has been named as 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, was believed to have multiple firearms, including but not limited to Walther P22 and Glock 9mm handguns. The affadavit goes on to say that an investigation has revealed the suspect recently purchased a handgun at a Roanoke firearms store.
"It is further reasonable to believe suspect is the author of the bomb threat note," reads the affadavit written by a Virginia State Police special agent.
The warrant was taken out to search a dorm room at 2121 Harper Hall for tools, documents, computer hardware, weapons, ammunition, explosives, instructional manuals for criminal acts of mass destruction, writing utensils and/or paper similar to that used to communicate threats to Tech's campus in the recent past.
-- Reported by Shawna Morrison
Classes at Virginia Tech will be canceled for the remainder of the week, the university announced this morning. Tech will be open for administrative functions on Wednesday.
Authorities identified the deceased shooter in yesterday's Virginia Tech massacre as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a South Korean native in U.S. as a resident alien. His residency was in Centreville and he was staying at the Harper residence hall on Tech's campus.
No possible motive was disclosed.
"The only thing that we know about him is that he was a loner and we are having difficulty finding information" about him, university spokesman Larry Hincker said.
Authorities said they are not releasing names of the victims until all have been identified.
President Bush and Gov. Tim Kaine are going to appear at 2 p.m. memorial service at Cassell.
Tech President Charles Steger and the university's police chief, Wendell Flinchum appeared at the 9 a.m. press conference where the shooter was identified but declined to field reporters questions on security measures taken in the two hours between the first and second shootings Monday, a gap that has been questioned by students, parents, and the media.
Flinchum said the second shootings started as police were questioning a male associate of a female victim of the first shooting.
Results of ballistic tests conducted at a federal lab in Maryland overnight confirmed that the same weapon was used in both on campus shooting events on Monday, a detail that proves they incidents were related, Flinchum said.
Authorities assert response to shootings was timely -- A full report on the morning press conference
-- Reported by Albert Raboteau
Scott Hill, chief executive officer of Montgomery County Regional Hospital, said this morning that nine victims of yesterday's shooting at Virginia Tech, all students, remain at Montgomery Regional.
All are in stable condition, including three who were in critical condition last night. Another three victims are in stable condition at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem. One of those is expected to be discharged later today. Hill was unsure of the conditions of patients taken to Carilion New River Valley Hospital and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Four patients at Montgomery Regional underwent major surgery yesteday, Hill said, and two had minor sugery.
Hill refused to say how many of the 22 victims taken to Montgomery Regional and Lewis-Gale yesterday have died, though he did say the vicitms of yesterday's first shooting came the Montgomery Regional. Those students were killed.
The survivors' families are at their bedsides and their friends are being allowed to visit, if the families approve, but Hill said the hospital is trying to limit visitors today so the victims can rest.
Speaking to a herd of reporters and a wall of 10 television cameras, Hill praised the work of his staff and offered condolences to the victims, their friends and families.
"Our hearts go out to the families and the folks at Virginia Tech that are dealing that are dealing with this tragic situation," Hill said.
-- Reported by Tim Thornton
The eyes of the world are on Blacksburg this morning. About 60 television trucks are parked at the end of Virginia Tech campus. The media crush is so great that only one reporter per news organization is being allowed into the room where press conferences are being held.
"We are just going to reach the capacity too fast," a woman posted at the door told a line of reporters from newspapers including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Fox's Geraldo Rivera was among the reporters in the pressroom.
Morning news coverage by organizations including the BBC has questioned why stronger security measures were not taken after the earlier violence Monday.
Douglas said the crush of reporters means media access to the 2 p.m. memorial service at Cassell Coliseum will be limited to pool coverage.
-- Reported by Albert Raboteau
The Salvation Army brought a truck from Roanoke to serve meals to victims to families, emergency workers and others gathered at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Richard White, a captain of the organization, estimated 500 meals had been served so far, about 10 of which were brought to a grief-sticken family staying upstairs at the Inn at Virginia Tech. "There's not a lotyou can say," White said.
According to Virginia Tech student newspaper's Web site, collegiatetimes.com, the following are the names of confirmed fatalities in Monday's shooting rampage on the Virginia Tech campus.
Maxine Turner Vienna, Va. Senior, Chemical Engineering
Henry Lee Roanoke Freshman, Computer Engineering
Matt La Porte Dumont, N.J. Freshman, University Studies
Jamie Bishop Instructor, Foreign Languages and Literatures (German)
G.V. Loganathan Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Juan Ortiz Graduate Student, Civil Engineering
Jarrett Lane Narrows Senior, Civil Engineering
Ryan Clark Columbia County, Ga. Senior, Biology, English, Psychology
Leslie Sherman Sophomore, History and International Studies
Caitlin Hammaren Sophomore, International Studies and French
Liviu Librescu Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics
Kevin Granata Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics
Reema Samaha Centreville Freshman
Emily Hilscher Woodville Freshman, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Equine Science
CNN reported today that Ross Alameddine, a student from Saugus, Mass., was another shooting victim.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday night that authorities are investigating whether the gunman was a 24-year-old Chinese man who arrived in the U.S. last year on a student visa issued in Shanghai. Police believe three bomb threats on the campus last week may have been attempts by the man to test the campus' security response, the newspaper reported.
11:08 p.m., April 16
A student from Georgia was one of the first victims shot to death at Virginia Tech on Monday.
Ryan "Stack" Clark was shot in the neck in West Ambler Johnston Hall where the gunman started his rampage, said Vernon Collins, the coroner in Columbia County, Ga.
Collins said the Virginia State Police asked him and a deputy sheriff to notify Clarks family in his hometown of Martinez, Ga.
His mother, Letitie Clark, "was in shock and disbelief that her son was gone," Collins said. "I had to assure her it was real. Its the hardest part of the job to make a death notification. There are no words to describe how horrible it is."
Collins said he didnt know whether Clark died at the scene or at the hospital. He said an autopsy will be conducted by a medical examiner in Roanoke.
According to a page on Techs Marching Virginians web site posted in fall 2006, Clark was a fifth-year member of the marching band program and a resident advisor at West Ambler Johnston.
He had expected to graduate in December 2006 and planned to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in cognitive neuroscience.
The online Virginia Tech directory lists a Ryan Christopher Clark at 4042 West Ambler Johnston and says he is studying psychology.
-- Reported by John Cramer
President Bush's staff has talked to Virginia Tech officials about the possibility of Bush visiting campus this week, Tech President Charles Steger said at a press conference this evening.
Authorities said they are still trying to determine whether the shootings at West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall are related. They have identified a person of interest in the Ambler Johnston shootings but do not have anyone in custody. That person is cooperating with authorities, they said.
At Norris Hall, 31 people including the shooter were killed. Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said the scene at Norris was probably one of the worst things Ive seen in my life. Authorities have made a preliminary identification of the shooter but dont plan to release his name, or that of any of the victims, until tomorrow. Another two, a woman and a male resident assistant, were killed at Ambler Johnston.
Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said that an estimated 15 people have been injured from today's shootings.
Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said police had made a preliminary identification of the shooter but were not releasing the identity at a press conference that is currently happening. He also said that two weapons had been recovered but declined to say what they were.
Norris Hall, where 31 of today's 33 victims died and 15 more were injured, is a crime investigation scene tonight. Police block passersby from approaching closer than Burruss Hall, Virginia Tech's main administrative building that sits between Norris and the Drillfield.
A long piece of yellow police tape is tangled in a tree and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents seemed to be looking through windows of cars parked near Burruss. No vehicles are being allowed onto campus.
A half dozen police trucks are parked near Norris, and officers are coming and going from the building. Very few other people are outside on that side of campus.
At the Inn at Virginia Tech, a university hotel that has served as a staging area for today's press conferences and for students and family members seeking information, guards at the front door are only allowing friends and relatives of victims to enter. Media representatives are being sent to another door. The Inn is trying to keep rooms available for friends and family.
"Hokies United" an ad hoc group that has brought together Virginia Tech's student organizations during past tragedies, is organizing a candlelight vigil tomorrow night on Tech's Drillfield. The event is open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Students are planning on passing a flame to light 10,000 candles at the event. It will also feature a yet-to-be-named speaker.
Students are building a writing wall so people at the vigil can write messages in support of the victims.
Gov. Tim Kaine has declared a state of emergency due to today's events at Virginia Tech. State agencies are directed to aid in the response to the shootings that killed at least 33 people.
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, added his voice to the chorus of officials expressing shock and sadness, issuing a statement saying his "thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire Virginia Tech community.
Newly announced event schedule changes linked to the shooting include cancellation of tonight's bluegrass and old-time jam at the Coffee Mill in Radford; tomorrow's McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching, administered by Blue Ridge PBS; and the cancelling of Tuesday classes and after-school events Montgomery County Public Schools.
Here are at least some of the vigils scheduled for tonight: 6 p.m., St. Johns Episcopal Church, Roanoke; 6 or 7 p.m., Blacksburg Church of Christ; 7 p.m., Blacksburg Presbyterian Church; 7 p.m., West Eggleston Hall on Virginia Tech campus; 8 p.m., Henderson Lawn on Virginia Tech campus.
Also, Tech students have started a facebook site titled "I'm ok at VT" to let each other know their whereabouts and ask about people who are missing.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger expressed "horror and disbelief and profound sorrow" at this morning's shootings, and said it killed at least 33 people on campus. The official casualty count has grown throughout the day.
Steger said at a press conference this afternoon that it likely will be tomorrow before the names of the dead are released in order to give authorities time to notify next-of-kin.
Steger also said it is not confirmed that the shootings in Norris Hall, where 31 died and 15 were wounded, are linked to the shootings two hours earlier in West Ambler Johnston Hall, where two people were found shot in a dormitory room. Tech officials said they could not say a single shooter was to blame for both instances, but said there is no search for additional suspects. No one is in custody in connection to the shootings, officials said.
Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said the shooter shot himself inside Norris Hall. Officials have not named the shooter, or described him beyond saying he was male. The gunman was not carrying identification and officials say they have not positively identified him.
Tech officials defended their decision to continue classes after the first shootings, saying their information at the time indicated that it was an isolated incident and that the shooter left campus.
"You can second-guess all day. We acted on the best information we had," Flinchum said.
"We can't have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day of the year," Steger said.
Flinchum confirmed that police found some of the Norris Hall classroom doors chained shut from the inside, which is not a normal practice. Some of the people hurt in Norris Hall were injured leaping from windows to escape.
Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said there would be another press briefing at 7:30 p.m. Classes are canceled for Tuesday, and there is no decision yet on whether they will resume Wednesday.
Seth Terrell, Virginia Tech campus pastor at Blacksburg Church of Christ, says the congregation will hold a prayer vigil tonight at the church. The time is yet to be determined but will likely be 6 or 7, he said.
President George Bush said "Our nation is shocked and saddened" by today's shootings at Virginia Tech.
He pledged federal assistance in investigating the shootings and expressed condolences to the families of victims.
Montgomery County schools will have counselors available Tuesday to help students deal with today's shootings.
The massacre today at Virginia Tech is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, according to a prominent criminologist.
James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston said the death toll which now stands at 31 surpasses the 22 people killed in 1991 when a gunman with a high-powered pistol opened fire on a lunchtime crowd at a cafeteria in Killenn, Texas.
Fox said the death count at Tech makes the shooting the deadliest in the United States, and possibly worldwide.
"Im not aware of anything else" that approaches the number, Fox said.
College students across the country are expressing their sympathies to Virginia Tech students online through thefacebook.com.
More than 43 groups and climbing have been established to show support for victims and their families, and to keep others updated on the status of mutual friends who attend Tech.
A blogger who posted on the Web site of the UCONN SUPPORTS VIRGINIA TECH STUDENTS group said that she hopes to organize a memorial at the University of Connecticut this week.
Meanwhile a University of Alabama student posted on the wall of a group entitled Pray for the families of the students killed at Va Tech.
I am so shocked and disgusted at what has happened this morning. It is scary to think that this could have happened at UA, she wrote.
Tech students have also created a group called A Tribute to Those who Passed at the Virginia Tech Shooting" that so far has attracted more than 3,600 members.
A prayer service related to today's shootings is scheduled for 6 tonight at Roanoke's St. John Episcopal Church at Elm and Jefferson.
A candlelight vigil also is being organized for Virginia Tech's Henderson Lawn for 8 tonight.
Radford University has offered to send counselors to Virginia Tech and has also offered what few residence hall rooms are available if Tech needs to find housing for students, spokesman Rob Tucker said.
The Radford campus also increased its own security, calling in off-duty police officers to work, Tucker said.
Four of the 17 students taken to Montgomery Regional Hospital are in surgery, according to spokeswoman Nancy May. They suffered gunshots and other injuries, May said, although she did not know what the other injuries were.
At least one of the five victims taken to Lewis-Gale Medical Center is a faculty member. Two of those victims are in surgery. All are in stable condition.
Four more victims were sent to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center near Radford and two to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Police are guarding Montgomery County Regional's entrance road and doorways.
The hospital has set up a room with pizza and coffee for friends of victims to gather to wait for information. Some students have requested a room be set aside where they could gather to pray.
Wes Barts, a campus minister for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, says he's spoken with four or five other pastors about joint prayer vigils to help their congregations deal with today's tragic shooting.
Were trying to figure out, how much do we do as a chapter and how much do we do as a bigger fellowship of believers? said Barts, a Tech alumnus.
Barts said he learned of the shooting at 10 a.m.
Ive pretty much been on the phone all day ever since this happened," he said. "Ive been interviewed by people like in Wisconsin. Ive been trying to make sure all of our students in our fellowship our OK. That seems to be the case.
Intervarsity will hold an open meeting at 7 tonight in West Eggleston Hall on Tech's campus.
"Hopefully by then well be able to go on campus," Barts said. "Thats for people who are on campus and dont want to leave campus but want to come together. ... Its sort of hard because we cant go on campus and its hard for the students to leave that are on campus.
There also will be a prayer vigil at 7 tonight at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg.
Jim Pace, pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship at Tech, says NLCF rents buildings at 130 Jackson St. and at "Zack's Place" on the corner of Draper and College avenues in Blacksburg where counselors are available.
A collaborative event between several religious organizations on campus is scheduled for Wednesday. A location and time are yet to be determined.
Were just really trying to figure out at this point what is the extent of this," Pace said. "I was here during 9/11 and this is so much worse for the campus than that was in terms of the amount of people it hit. ... With 9/11 [students] didnt go out to kind of deal with the grief. They huddled up in apartments. They didnt want to go on campus or go to Squires. This may be the same or it may be different. Were just waiting to see.
Seth Terrell, campus minister at Blacksburg Church of Christ, said a prayer vigil is tentatively scheduled to be held at the church tonight.
Freshman Dan Stoken was walking from class to the Schiffert Health Center about 9:45 a.m. when police officers in the doorway of West Ambler-Johnston Hall began yelling at him.
"Get inside! Run! Run!" they screamed as Stoken bolted for the dorm's double doors. Inside, a Blacksburg police officer grabbed his backpack and slid it across the room.
"I had no idea what was going on," Stoken said.
Within an hour, Stoken was joined by about 30 more students in the lobby of West Ambler-Johnston, most of them having been pulled from the sidewalk by police.
Senior Morgan Rezac said she saw police cars zip by as she walked from the gym to Deets to get coffee but figured someone had been hit by a car.
"I didn't think anything else could have happened," she said.
Piled onto two wooden benches and sitting cross-legged on the floor, the students, many of them on their cellphones, tried to find out what was going on. At that point, the only confirmed shootings had taken place at West Ambler-Johnston.
"We've got you right here because this is the safest spot for you to be right now," Blacksburg police Lt. Joe Davis told them. "We've got some things going on outside and you don't need to be walking in the quad right now."
Richard Waldrop, a freshman who lives in West Ambler-Johnston, said he didn't know about the shooting in the building until he tried to go to class and was told not to leave. He said he wasn't worried about the situation, even as ambulance sirens blared and police could be heard shouting outside.
"There's a bunch of police everywhere," he said. "They seem to have it under control."
Outside, the university's emergency alert system activated, with a message for students that they should stay inside and away from windows. The campus was desolate, with no pedestrians visible and very few vehicles on the road other than law enforcement.
About 11 a.m. in Burchard Hall, the architecture building, students were packed into classrooms on the building's bottom floor and told to turn the lights out.
Freshman Casey Reeve said he was in Burchard doing classwork when someone got an e-mail that there was a shooter on campus. He continued to work until about 10:30 a.m., when school officials told him and other students to get away from the windows that surround the building.
"Some people seem pretty scared," Reeve said. "Others aren't that concerned."
The students were given a short bathroom break and then told to get back into the rooms. Reeve said he had missed several phone calls and text messages from his worried mother in Long Island and needed to call her to let her know he was OK before he went back to the rooms.
Reeve said he wasn't really worried about the situation, "I guess because this is the second time this has happened."
Reeve said Monday's incident was reminiscent of the first day of fall semester, when classes were closed because of the manhunt for William Charles Morva, a Montgomery County Jail inmate who had escaped police custody.
Virginia Tech officials now say at least 31 people died in this morning's shootings, up from 22 confirmed dead earlier today.
Also, tomorrow's convocation, an event intended to formalize the university's ongoing grief and recovery, is now scheduled for 2 p.m., not noon, at Cassell Coliseum.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling released a statement on the shootings at Virginia Tech, expressing condolences to the families of victims and wishing full recoveries for the wounded.
Virginia Tech is one of our nations finest institutions of higher education," Bolling said. "As the father of a 2005 graduate of Virginia Tech, I consider myself a part of this family as well. In difficult times like these families pull together, and I have no doubt that the Virginia Tech family will pull together as well in this difficult time."
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, also issued a statement, saying he and all members of the House of Delegates were "deeply saddened by todays shocking tragedy at Virginia Tech.
Gene Cole has worked in Virginia Tech's housekeeping services for more than two decades. He was on the second floor of Norris Hall this morning and saw a person lying on a hallway floor. As Cole approached, a man wearing a hat and holding a black gun stepped into the hallway.
"Someone stepped out of a classroom and started shooting at me," Cole said.
He fled down the corridor, then down a flight of steps to safety. Most of this morning's casualties occurred in Norris.
"All I saw was blood in the hallways," Cole said.
Zac Ottoson, a freshman from southern New Jersey, had a class at 8 this morning, then got breakfast. He was on the Drillfield around 9:30 when he heard gunshots and sirens, and saw people running away from the Burruss Hall side of campus, where shootings had just occurred in Norris Hall.
Quiet and safety were among the reasons he chose Virginia Tech, Ottoson said. "It seemed like such a nice safe and friendly place to me. It really makes you think twice about how safe it is," he said.
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell issued this statement: My prayers are with the families and friends of those killed in todays tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. We pray for all those injured, that they will recover from their injuries. I urge my fellow Virginians to pray for all those impacted by this heartbreaking occurrence. The Office of the Attorney General will work with the administration of Virginia Tech, the Virginia State Police, the Governor and all of our client agencies to provide the best legal help possible as the investigation into this situation unfolds.
McDonnell will attend a memorial event scheduled for noon Tuesday at Tech's Cassell Coliseum.
One man was hanging out the window of a Norris Hall classroom when the gunman entered, according to freshman Douglas Cobb.
Cobb said that Jake Grohs, the resident assistant for the fourth floor of Peddrew-Yates residence hall, told him he climbed out the window of an engineering class as the gunman apparently made his way from room to room in Norris.
"He was in the room next door to the shooting" and decided to try climbing out the second-story window, Cobb said. "He was hanging out the window when the person came in" and heard people being shot, Cobb said. He said that four of six people who were in the room at that time where shot.
Grohs jumped out the window onto a hill and is OK, Cobb said.
Cobb and other friends showed up at the Inn at Virginia Tech this afternoon to try to get information about a missing friend.
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb released this statement about today's shootings: I am truly saddened to hear of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech. My heart goes out to the parents and families of the victims of this senseless act. My office has been in communication with the Governors office and officials at Virginia Tech to offer any assistance.
By 12:26 p.m., Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, had an entry for the shootings entitled "Virginia Tech massacre" that included a photo from the event.
The entry was soon changed to "2007 Virginia Tech shooting." Within an hour it included information gleaned from a variety of news sources including CNN, National Public Radio and WDBJ. In the style of Wikipedia, contributors continued to update the information -- correcting errors in early news reports, adjusting language and generally keeping the encyclopedia entry accurate.
As the medical examiners office in Roanoke prepared to conduct autopsies of all the dead, the undermanned office was waiting for reinforcements.
Nine state employees including medical examiners, administrators and investigators were making the trip today from Richmond, Tidewater and Northern Virginia to assist William Massello, who is the only medical examiner in the Roanoke office following the departure last year of two of his colleagues.
It was not clear when the bodies will be transported from Blacksburg to the medical examiners office in Roanoke, said Tracie Cooper, the district administrator.
Gov. Tim Kaine has issued a statement regarding todays shootings at Virginia Tech. It is difficult to comprehend senseless violence on this scale," Kaine said. Our prayers are with the families and friends of these victims, and members of the extended Virginia Tech community."
Kaine said he is leaving Tokyo, where he was on a trade mission, to return to Virginia.
Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital is treating two of the gunshot wound victims, one from the first shooting and another from the second shooting, said Eric Earnhart, hospital spokesman.
Monday afternoon, hospital staff waited at the ambulance entrance for one of the victims, who arrived about 12:45 in a Carilion ambulance. The victim, who could not be seen beneath blankets, was rushed into the emergency room.
Earnhart said he did not know the condition of either patient.
Pedestrian traffic is slowly returning to Blacksburg's College Avenue, which runs along the edge of Virginia Tech's campus. The campus loudspeakers that broadcast echoing warnings of "This is an emergency, seek shelter indoors immediately" have been silent for at least an hour.
Two Tech freshmen walking back toward campus said the day's events seem unbelievable, especially given that the school year started with campus being shut down during the manhunt for acccused murderer William Morva.
"At first I thought it was something like a joke because going through something like this twice in one year didn't seem possible," said Dennis Hollich, an 18-year-old from Jupiter, Fla.
"It's pretty brutal," added Jessica Parrish, also 18, from Louisa County.
Pauletta Robins, a Blacksburg resident, said she'd spent the morning trying to contact her husband, Todd, a painter at Tech. Cellphone circuits were jammed and she hadn't been able to talk to him.
"What's happening to this town?" Robins asked.
Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said it's unclear what could have prompted today's shootings. An investigation is under way, he said.
At this point, Flinchum said, "we believe campus is secure. We are releasing people to leave campus if they wish."
Tech police got a 911 call at 7:15 a.m. about the shooting in West Ambler-Johnston. At least two people were shot there and some panicked students are reported to have jumped out the dorm's windows.
The Norris Hall shootings happened about two hours later. Classes were canceled and anyone out walking was quickly pulled inside by police or university officials.
"The university is shocked and horrified that this would befall our campus," Tech President Charles Steger said at the noon news conference. He called the incident a "tragedy of monumental proportions."
Counseling centers have been set up in Ambler-Johnston and the Cook Counseling Center, he said, and the school is planning a convocation at noon tomorrow at Cassell Coliseum "for the university community to come together to begin to deal with this tragedy."
Virginia Tech campus is quiet, with few students walking about. Most buildings are evacuated and police are telling people to leave and not come back today. Dormitories are locked down.
A heavy police presence is evident, with armed officers visible all around the Drillfield.
Freshman Hector Takahashi said he'd been in a class in Pamplin Hall, near Norris Hall, around 9:30 a.m. Students were talking about a shooting in West Ambler Johnston.
"Then all of a sudden, we were like, 'Whoa -- were those shots?'" he said. There were two quick bangs, then a pause, then a fusillade of at least 30 shots, he said.
Multiple people in the Virginia Tech athletic department have said all players have been accounted for on the football, men's basketball, women's basketball, softball, golf and men's tennis teams. Reporters are trying to contact coaches of the other teams.
The next scheduled on-campus athletic event is a baseball game Wednesday against William and Mary.
Blacksburg town offices are closed for the day.
At least 22 people, including a suspect, are confirmed dead after a series of shootings this morning on the Virginia Tech campus, Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.
At a noon news conference at the Inn at Virginia Tech, Flinchum said that some of the dead were students, though he could not say how many. Authorities are in the process of notifying next of kin, he said.
Twenty of the victims were shot in Norris Hall, a classroom building, Flinchum said. One was shot early this morning in West Ambler-Johnston, a residence hall. A second person was shot in West Ambler-Johnston but survived.
Authorities are not releasing the name of the suspect or saying whether he killed himself or was killed by authorities.
The mass shooting is the nations worst on any school or college campus, according to Catherine Bath, executive director of Security on Campus Inc., a non-profit group that tracks school shootings.
"There is no national precedent for this," Bath said.
"This is a Columbine-type situation," Bath said, referring to a schooting at a Colorado high school that left 12 students and a teacher dead in 1999.
"Its actually much, much worse than that."
Virginia Tech is offering counseling to employees who want assistance after today's events. The counseling is available in the Bowman Room in the Merriman Center.
Seventeen students are being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries at Montgomery Regional Hospital, spokeswoman Nancy May said. Two more gunshot victims are in stable condition at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, and three others are on their way to Lewis-Gale, she said.
At least four gunshot victims are at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, three stable and one in critical condition, spokeswoman Debbie Sydnor said. Another victim is in the trauma unit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and two more are en route to Roanoke, Sydnor said.
Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum is saying there at least 20 fatalities in this morning's shootings.
Virginia Tech has closed for the day and announced that classes also are canceled for Tuesday, though administrative functions are scheduled to resume then.
Faculty and staff on the Burruss Hall side of the Drillfield are being asked to go home immediately. Faculty and staff on the War Memorial side are asked to leave at 12:30 p.m.
The university's convocation ceremony is still scheduled for noon Tuesday at Cassell Coliseum. The Inn at Virginia Tech has been designated as the site for parents to gather and obtain information.
Carilion spokesman Eric Earnhart said four patients injured in the Tech shootings this morning have been taken to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center.
Two more patients are on the way to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Earnhart said. One other patient already had been taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Both Carilion helicopters are grounded because of high wind conditions, he said. Ambulances are being sent from Roanoke to Blacksburg.
Wayne Pike, U.S. marshal for the Western District of Virginia, said he sent four deputy marshals to Tech to help however they could.
Pike said he has heard so far about one male suspect in the shootings. The info we got is there is one person that is out of commission -- under arrest or otherwise -- and they are searching for other possibilities now," Pike said.
Pike said there is a lot of confusion and he has heard that there have been anywhere from two to 12 arrests, and some very serious injuries.
Sophomore Stephen Luhman was among the students locked down in Newman Library, waiting for events to calm down enough to leave.
He said he'd recently talked to a friend who is thinking of transferring to Virginia Tech. His friend asked him how safe Tech is.
"Very safe," Luhman remembered answering. "Nothing ever happens here. Even with the thing at the beginning of the year [the manhunt for accused murderer William Morva], we felt safe."
Scott Hendricks, an associated professor of engineering science and mechanics, said he was on Norris Hall's third floor this morning around 9:45. "I started hearing some banging and some shots, then I saw a student crawling on the ground."
Hendricks said he was not sure if he saw any of the casualties, but "I saw a bloody T-shirt."
Hendricks said he went into a classroom with students, closed the door and waited until things were quiet before leaving the building.
The Associated Press is reporting eight to nine casualties, attributing the information to an unnamed official source.
Virginia Tech's Newman Library became a shelter as university staff urged students and passersby to come in from the sidewalk. Library staff estimated that hundreds of people are in the building now, far more than would be usual at this time of day.
Sarah Ulmer, a freshman from Covington, sat on the floor and recounted how she'd been walking between buildings this morning when she saw police officers near McBryde and Norris halls.
"The police said, 'Get out of the way, get out of the way,' and then they said Run," Ulmer said. She couldn't return to her dorm room in East Ambler Johnson hall because it was near one of the shooting sites, so she headed toward Newman.
"I figured it was safe," she said. "It was the library."
Watching police from the library's fourth-floor windows, David Russell, a sophomore from Montgomery County, Md., echoed a common sentiment, comparing today's events to last year's manhunt for accused murderer William Morva.
"This year with Morva, the bomb threats and this now, it's crazy. It's not really what you'd expect from a small farm school."
Updated: 11:06 a.m.
The Associated Press is reporting there at least one person dead as a result of multiple shootings on the Virginia Tech campus this morning. Wounded have been removed from buildings. Tech student Steve Hanson was working in a lab in Norris Hall at 10:15 a.m. when he hears what he thought was loud banging from construction. Hanson was soon scrambling out of the building and he said he saw one person who was shot in the arm. At Pritchard Hall, a dormitory near one of the shooting sites, students were being pulled into the buildings and told to stay away from windows and off the phone.
Updated: 10:17 a.m. Multiple shootings have occurred at Virginia Tech this morning involving multiple victims. The second shooting happened in Norris Hall, the engineering building near Burruss Hall. Police are on the scene and rescue workers have set up a temporary treatment facility. The campus is on lock down. All classes and activities have been cancelled for the day.
Montgomery County public schools are all on lock down. In Blacksburg, no one is being allowed in any school building without approval by the school administrators, said Superintendent Tiffany Anderson.
The university has posted a notice of the incident on its Web site and is urging the university community to be cautious and contact Virginia Tech police at 231-6411 if they notice anything suspicious. No further details were available. The Roanoke Times will update with new information as it become available.
Maybe that's because it's a (rather good) factual statement about the shooting and the aftermath. Just the facts.
I loath liberal culture now more than I ever have. It literally makes sheep to the slaughter out of otherwise intelligent human beings. The principle of protection has been lost, and no one seems to give a sweet damn.
Your welcome on the facts as posted.
Virginia Tech (and Blacksburg) is like a little island of Northern Virginia surrounded by rural South. The leadership on campus is at a loss, but them boys from Giles County woulda known what to do...
‘K stop spamming threads....
12:00 PM - the Feds move to confiscate privately owned guns, aided by the Armed Forces of the Gun Control lobby, the BATF.
An outrage that armed police and guards were allowed on this “gun-free zone” school.
Some rogue, trigger-happy guard or cop could have shot innocent students.
Cops should not be allowed firearms in a gun-free zone.
Sub-lethal weapons only. Pepper spray, tasers and clubs only.
In fact, all police should be disarmed.
That will get the guns off the street.
Thugs would then see the unilateral, positive actions of the cops and no longer use guns as well.
I’m serious (in serious need of p.c. thought deprogramming).