Virginia Tech is Devastated by the Worst College School Shooting in U.S. Historyby News Staff
April 16, 2007
6:15pm A story from the press conference is being written now.
5:45pm The two people who were shot in West Ambler Johnston this morning, a male and a female, are deceased. The male's name was Ryan Clark.
5:10pm Ten agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are now on the Virginia Tech campus assisting with weapons identification. They are collecting shell casings and running some preliminary tests on scene. Once the weapon has been identified, they will begin an "urgent trace" to determine its origins - where it came from, to whom it was registered, and its history of ownership. All material will be sent to the ATF's national crime lab in Maryland. Former Assistant FBI Director Bill Gavin said if reports that the shooter chained the doors to Norris Hall are true, that is “definite proof of premeditation,” as is the number of magazines and rounds of ammunition he apparently had.
Families wishing to reunite with students are suggested to meet at the Inn at Virginia Tech. School officials are making plans for a convocation Tuesday at noon at Cassell Coliseum. From Fox News
4:50pm:Virginia Tech remains closed on Monday, April 16, 2007. Vehicular entrances to campus are severely restricted to essential personnel only. Additional security remains on campus as the investigation continues.
Counseling assistance for students in available at West Ambler Johnston and McComas Hall until 9 p.m. tonight. Students are encouraged to utilize these services. Counseling for faculty and staff is available at the Bowman Room in the Merriman Center (athletic complex). Student may also be together at the Old Dominion Ballroom at Squires Student Center.
The university will also close on Tuesday, April 17. Essential personal are to report for work. Classes will be canceled.
A public gathering will be held Tuesday, April 17 at Cassell Coliseum at 2 p.m. (a time change from the originally scheduled 10 a.m. gathering).
All students are urged to contact their parents as soon as possible to let them know individuals are safe.
Students, faculty, and staff who may have any information related to the incident at West Amber Johnston Hall and Norris Hall are encouraged to go to the Blacksburg Police Department to make statements, or call 540-231-TIPP (8477), or 231-6411
Parents with concerns are asked to call the Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787.
Individuals injured in the two shootings have been taken to area hospitals.
3:48pm: The university's convocation for tomorrow at Cassell Coliseum is scheduled for 2pm, not noon as originally reported by local news. New article has been posted below.
2:52pm: President Bush is scheduled to speak on the shooting at 4:15pm, and a Virginia Tech press conference will follow at 4:30pm. The shooter was found in the basement of Norris Hall. Death toll is now reported to be 31, many students are receiving critical care.
2:03pm: The US Justice Department is reporting 32 fatalities in the shooting incident.
1:54pm: It is still unclear whether or not the gunman was shot or killed himself. According to MSNBC and student report interviews, he may have been searching for his girlfriend and her new boyfriend, but is unconfirmed. University officials are notifying victim's family. State Police are still investigating various crime scenes, and trying to identify all the victims
1:48pm: Derek O'dell, a sophomore biology major was in a classroom on the second floor of Norris Hall when the shooter came in and began to shoot. He let off a full round before leaving. O'dell was one of 10-15 people shot in the class, and was hit in his upper arm. According to O'dell, the shooter was an Asian male in his twenties wearing a maroon hat and a black coat.
1:43pm: Planet Blacksburg would like to request that people send any photos they have taken on campus during this incident to post on the site. Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and please indicate if you would rather us not to post your name along with the photo.
1:03pm: President of the University, Charles Steger has released a statment here. State police said much of the carnage occurred in Norris Hall where classes were being held. The shooting took place in more than one classroom; Norris classrooms are moderately sized rooms, and is mainly the building used by the Engineering, Science and Mechanics departments, but other classes are also held there that are not apart of ESM FBI officers were also seen on campus. State, local, and campus police have been assisting with the incident. The White House is expected to give a response. The associated press is calling the incident the deadliest college shooting in US history.
12:56pm: Families wishing to reunite with students are suggested to meet at the Inn at Virginia Tech. The university is planning a convocation for tomorrow at noon at Cassell Coliseum for the university community to come together to begin to deal with the tragedy. Counseling is available in the Bowman Room in the Merriman Center (part of the athletic complex) for employees who seek assistance following today’s events. All faculty and staff have been released and asked to go home effective immediately. The university will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. but classes are canceled.
12:51pm: 1 person killed at initial shooting at 7:15 this morning at West Ambler Johnston, 20 additional killed at Norris Hall, and the remaining person dead is the shooter.
12:30pm: 22 confirmed dead, and 28 injured. Gunman is confirmed dead.
12:05pm: Two faculty members have confirmed more than ten ambulances have come and gone, which substantiates the unconfirmed reports that there are multiple I injuries. Said there are four patients en route to the New River Valley Medical Center, two are en route to Roanoke Memorial, and they received one earlier, which totals seven people and are sending additional ambulances. There are 8-30 injuries according to University Official and one confirmed fatality. Authorities believe they have apprehended the people involved in the incident. If the campus is evacuated, then police will do so one class at a time. An official said the incident may include among its victims, a female student, a dorm resident advisor, and perhaps a faculty member.
Virginia Tech, indeed the nation, has been stunned by the bloodiest day in the history of American higher education.
More than 20, as many as 31 by some reports, students and faculty died today when a shooter when on a rampage.
According to authorities, the shooter first struck at West Ambler Johnston, a dorm, and then moved across the scenic Drillfield that serves as the campus centerpiece and struck terror into the quietly stately Norris building and its classrooms on the second floor.
There the shooter conducted an unprecedented slaughter with at least one firearm just as morning classes were starting to get busy at 9:05 a.m.
Ruiqi Zhang, a computer engineering major, was in Norris 205. “I was sitting in class when we heard loud popping noises a couple rooms down...The teacher and a student went into the hallway and rushed back in and told everybody to get down. We put a table against the door and had a few students holding down the door. The gunman tried to shoulder his way in and when he saw that he couldn't, he put two shots through the door it was the scariest moment of my life...” said Zhang.
A building worker, Gene Cole who has worked for Virginia Tech for more than 20 years said that he caught sight of the shooter who was wearing a dark coat and a maroon hat and what he called “a black automatic handgun.”
Another worker, Pam Tickle, said she heard the shooting and took refuge with two other people in a lounge on the second floor. Tickle said she and the coworkers spent approximately two hours waiting in terror until police came and got them. “God was looking out for me,” said Tickle.
According to a source in University Relations one person has been taken into custody in relation to the shooting that has occurred on campus. University Relations said there were unconfirmed reports of a second arrest late in the morning.
A doctor at the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital confirmed that several victims were en route to the hospital for treatment late Monday morning. Some victims are being treated at a Montgomery County hospital, according to another source at the hospital.
The first shooting occurred at West Ambler Johnston early this morning. The campus has been closed and all classes cancelled. All students that were in class are being held there according to University Relations.
A junior student who lives on the sixth floor of East Ambler Johnston said there was a shooting on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston early this morning. Her friend informed her the elevators in the building were shut down, but she still attempted to go to class.
She was first informed of the shooting on her way to her 10 a.m. class. Students were walking away from Burruss Hall across the Drillfield and told her to turn around. “There are a lot of cops outside (AJ). Resident Advisors went around and told everyone to stay put,” Alicain Carlson said. “I’m scared out of my mind.”
Police sealed off the inner core of campus. They had swat teams positioned around campus, and there were flashing lights that included from State Police, Blacksburg PD, Mont Co sheriff’s dept, VT Police, and other available departments.
Virginia Tech administration has made repeated and frequent announcements on its public address system, telling students to stay in their classrooms and dorms.
State police are assisting the Virginia Tech Police Department, but VT Police were unable to be contacted for more information.
More information will be available as it is released.