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Virginia Tech Shootings – 33 Dead

A shooting spree at Virginia Tech has left 21 victims dead, not counting the gunman.

Virginia Tech Shooting Photo Law enforcement officers take cover behind a tree during the investigation of a shooting at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. Gunfire erupted in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 22 people, the police chief said. The gunman was killed. (AP Photo/WDBJ via CNN) A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people and wounding another 21 before he was killed, police said.

“Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,” said university president Charles Steger.

The university reported shootings at opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus, beginning at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a co-ed residence hall that houses 895 people, and continuing about two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building. All entrances to the campus were closed and classes canceled through Tuesday.

Wow.

UPDATE: ABC reports the number is up to 29 and they give the impression the number could increase. Ugh. They’re headlining this “Massacre at Virginia Tech,” which does not strike me as hyperbolic.

UPDATE (1410): WaPo now has it at 32. Headline updated accordingly so as not to turn it into a macabre ticker board.

UPDATE (1706): ABC has the figure at 33, including the murderer, and reports additional details.

At least 33 people are dead in what may be the biggest mass shooting in modern American history.

[...]

Law enforcement officials tell ABC News they believe there was a single gunman, firing at least two 9mm semi-automatic pistols. They said he may have been wearing a bulletproof vest.

[...]

“We are in the process of identifying victims and we are in the process of notifying next of kin” said Virginia Tech’s president, Charles Steger. “We will not release any names until we are positive of this notification.”

The gunman, whose identity has not been released, is among the dead. Police say he took his own life after opening fire on his victims. There was no identification found on his body.

[...]

Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said the first shooting took place just after 7 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a large dormitory. Two people were shot in a dorm room, according to police. The first emergency call to police came in at 7:15 a.m.

Police were investigating the first shooting when more shots were fired at Norris Hall, an academic building across campus, at about 9:15 a.m. At least 31 people, said the university president, died there, including the gunman.

Chief Flinchum said at a news briefing that at least some of the exit doors at Norris Hall had been chained shut. He said there were no suspects in custody, and nobody was being sought. He said it was not entirely clear yet that the two shootings were connected.

It is also not clear what happened between the two shootings — a gap of two hours. The buildings where they happened are about half a mile apart, a distance one can walk in about ten minutes, according to Alex Mengel, a freshman at the school.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. The Populist says:

    The Gun Toting Liberalâ„¢, Scared Monkeys, Booman Tribune, No More Mister Nice Blog, Michael P.F. van der Galiën, AMERICAblog, The Democratic Daily, Middle Earth Journal, The Reaction, Balloon Juice, Outside The Beltway, Hot Air, Obsidian Wings, The Garlic, Neptunus Lex, Transterrestrial Musings, Power Line, State of the Day, Firedoglake, Brutally Honest, AndrewsDad, Right Wing Nut House, Clayton Cramer’s BLOG, Boing Boing

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  2. A shooting spree at Virginia Tech has left 21 victims dead, not counting the gunman. [IMG Virginia Tech Shooting Photo Law enforcement officers take cover behind a tree during the investigation of a shooting at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. Gunfire erupted in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 22 A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people and wounding another 21 before he was killed, police said. “Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,

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  3. The Sandbox says:

    *UPDATE* Reported Multiple Deaths in Virginia Tech Shooting…

    Classes have been canceled today as a scary situation develops in Blacksburg:Shootings in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech left at least one person dead and seven or eight more wounded Monday before police arrested the suspected gunman, officials…

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  4. Tlaloc says:

    So….

    would this be an opportune moment to discuss the 2nd amendment?

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  5. James Joyner says:

    would this be an opportune moment to discuss the 2nd amendment?

    Probably not. Still, I’m not sure legislative attempts to stifle gun ownership would have much impact on these kind of incidents. Indeed, one could argue that a lot fewer people would have wound up dead in this one if more sane people at Va Tech were packing heat.

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  6. Steve Plunk says:

    The proper time is when emotions have cooled and facts are known. It’s too early.

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  7. David Harris says:

    The problem with gun legislation is that existing laws pertaining to heavy automatic weapons (which these kinds of casualty figures indicate to me) are already pretty stringent. My guess is that the shooter will have been found to have obtained this gun through less than savory channels. Not sure what MORE laws would do to prevent something like this.

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  8. Triumph says:

    would this be an opportune moment to discuss the 2nd amendment?

    No! Even the liberal clown Michael Moore doesn’t have a problem with the 2nd amendment. Take a look at “Bowling for Columbine.”

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  9. Tlaloc says:

    My guess is that the shooter will have been found to have obtained this gun through less than savory channels. Not sure what MORE laws would do to prevent something like this.

    It could dry up those less than savory chanmnels by removing them from the “savory” channels that are adjacent. Hard to keep heavy weapons off the streets when any guy with a collector’s permit is able to legally own a minigun.

    Getting these weapons out of our society won’t reduce the incidences of violence but the magnitude. That is, it will make it a lot harder for a whack job to kill 30 people as opposed to 2.

    The proper time is when emotions have cooled and facts are known. It’s too early.

    Maybe. Or maybe by the time the emotions have cooled off the lobbyists will havesimply sleazed the system once more.

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  10. Tlaloc says:

    Indeed, one could argue that a lot fewer people would have wound up dead in this one if more sane people at Va Tech were packing heat.

    Except that after the first death the police were actually at the scene. If the police, with better weapons and training weren’t able to take this guy out what possibly makes you think some college kid with a .38 special is going to?

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  11. Massacre In Virginia…

    I’m sure most of you have heard about the shooting today in Virginia, some excellent blogging done already by scores of bloggers (see below).  Extremely sad news, and something in which we (meaning law enforcement) train for quite routinely.&nbsp…

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  12. John Burgess says:

    Police may have been on scene, but they don’t seem to have been working effectively if a second series of shooting took place over two hours after the first.

    Police are also bound by their ‘book’ and loath to do things outside it. Armed bystanders are not so bound and are more free to exercise good sense.

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  13. Tlaloc says:

    Police are also bound by their ‘book’ and loath to do things outside it. Armed bystanders are not so bound and are more free to exercise good sense.

    Yeah I’d really hate to have hordes of poorly trained armed people running around if they were going to actually show any restraint!

    Do we really want to go back to the notoriously safe and law abiding days of the wild west?

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  14. Bill's Bites says:

    At least 32 dead in Virginia Tech rampage…

    No word yet on any obvious motive. Broken romance? Jihad? Right now it’s sounding like a damned good argument for concealed carry permits at any rate. Federal Officials: At Least 32 Dead After Virginia Tech Shooting BLACKSBURG, Va. — At…

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  15. Bill Faith says:

    The bodies aren’t even stiff yet and the libs are already crawling out of the woodwork wanting to disarm the honest people of the country because some lone wacko couldn’t handle getting dumped. When they pry it from my cold stiff fingers, Tlaloc.

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  16. Steve Verdon says:

    Tlaloc,

    Try not to be such a Goddamned ghoul.

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  17. Wayne says:

    David
    From the reports, he used two pistols. It has to do more with who is holding the weapon then what weapon he is using. A good weapon can help in certain situation but a smart person can kill far more with far less.

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  18. Tlaloc says:

    The bodies aren’t even stiff yet and the libs are already crawling out of the woodwork wanting to disarm the honest people of the country because some lone wacko couldn’t handle getting dumped.

    The oil isn’t even cold yet and already the libs are crawling out of the woodwork wanting to keep exxon tanker captains from drinking on the job…

    Yeah that’s the funny thing about a tragedy. It pisses people off. Some of us want to fix what caused it. And then there’s the other side who cares far more about misinterpreting an amendment written by people who couldn’t have imagined semiautomatic weapons.

    When they pry it from my cold stiff fingers, Tlaloc.

    So you’re saying gun nuts should be put down like wild animals?

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  19. Tlaloc says:

    Try not to be such a Goddamned ghoul.

    *shrug*

    If you aren’t emotionally ready to deal with the “what do we do now” questions, that’s fine. Some of us are. If you need a break by all means take one, but no I’m not going to just sit by and let these deaths be in vain, as they will be if we once again ignore the problem.

    I’ll do what I can to wake others up to the madness. Maybe this time they’ll actually listen.

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  20. JohnG says:

    Well he was using pistols, and VT was already a ‘gun free zone’… there’s never gonna be a law that outlaws ownership of 9mm pistols so I don’t think that more gun laws are the solution here.

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  21. Steve Verdon says:

    Now you are smarmy and arrogant ghoul.

    Do you actually like these kinds of events, so you can show us all how much more righteous than the rest of us you are?

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  22. Developing: Virginia Tech Shooting Incident – 31+…

    Since the reports indicate that there was a single assailant and police are conducting a search for a second assailant as a matter of routine, one has to wonder how if there was a single gunman that he managed to get across campus to continue his mur…..

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  23. Tlaloc says:

    Well he was using pistols, and VT was already a ‘gun free zone’… there’s never gonna be a law that outlaws ownership of 9mm pistols so I don’t think that more gun laws are the solution here.

    Why not (referring to the law against 9mm pistols)? We can make any law we bloody well want to. Ain’t democracy grand?

    Conversely we’re responsible for any law we choose not to make. Doesn’t democracy suck?

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  24. Tlaloc says:

    Now you are smarmy and arrogant ghoul.

    Guess how much your opinion means to me. Go on, guess…

    Do you actually like these kinds of events, so you can show us all how much more righteous than the rest of us you are?

    No, I’d like it if you’d all prove me wrong on that count.

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  25. No, I’d like it if you’d all prove me wrong on that count.

    You’re doing that without any assistance at all.

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  26. JohnG says:

    Seriously, a ban on 9mm pistols? That’s never going to happen. Too many people use them, they are easy to conceal… it’d be about as effective as prohibiting pot has been. Outlawing pistols will just result in a bunch of unarmed innocent people and not stop psychos from getting guns at all.

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  27. Ben Ferguson says:

    Somebody said something about a college kid with a .38 not being able to stop this. If ALL of the college kids would’ve been packing, the body count would be less. Thats a common sense fact.

    There are good people and there are evil people. Evil people that would kill another human being in cold blood will so obviously not respect any gun laws and NO gunlaws will stop evil people from obtaining weapons to carry out thier plans. If all the “Good” people had weapons, the “Evil” people would not be able to carry out their ploys.

    I can’t believe that there is any question about why weapon freedom is so important.

    Just my RIGHT $.02

    Ben

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  28. Pug says:

    so I don’t think that more gun laws are the solution here.

    I have to agree with this for two reasons: first, the Second Amendment does guarantee Americans the right to bear arms and that isn’t going to change, and second, there are already so many guns around no law is going to get rid of them all.

    The gun supporters claim that everybody should be packing a gun is pretty lame, too. I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and I would really prefer that all the students didn’t pack a gun and I’m sure very few of them are really interested in carrying a concealed weapon. That isn’t going to happen either.

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure there really is a solution to the random whack job with a gun. It’s just kind of hey, welcome to America. This is us.

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  29. Steve Verdon says:

    No, I’d like it if you’d all prove me wrong on that count.

    It was a question doofus, not an assertion, but you’ve quite clearly answered the question.

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  30. Tlaloc says:

    There are good people and there are evil people.

    This kind of simplistic belief is why we never solve these problems. It’s like the fallacy that if you tke guns away from the law abiding only criminals will have guns.

    Where exactly do you think criminals come from? Do they appear fuilly formed and already armed? Are these “evil” people spontaneously generated from garbage like the middle ages theory on maggots?

    Of course not, they are formerly law abiding people who snap. And because we’ve made sure to give every last damn one of them an arsenal when they snap they have a ton of metal jacketed party favors to be delivered.

    Not to mention that by having such a huge thriving market for legal guns we flood the illegal markets as well. You can’t keep such a thing contained. What you can do is put the manufacturers out of business and dry up the supply.

    Why does that work? Why isn’t that just prohibition for guns? because guns are not an end in and of themselves, they are a means to another end. The only reason a person wants a gun is because the other guy has one.

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  31. G.A.Phillips says:

    Tlaloc, we are all born with sin and are all capable of evil.

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  32. i am so sorry what happen to those that lost there life and i sent my pray to all and god bless them all

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  33. Ben Ferguson says:

    Tlaloc wrote: “What you can do is put the manufacturers out of business and dry up the supply.”

    Do you really believe that?!?!?!? How many weapon manufacturers are there in Iraq? I’ve never heard of an Iraqi-made AK-47. No those are all imported weapons. If we had no manufacturers here, the criminals would definitely get them from somewhere else as terrorists have proven for a hundred years.

    I would agree that it is too easy for a criminal to obtain a firearm…but it’s a double-edged sword and it’s just as easy for law-abiding citizens to obtain them to defend themselves.

    Can good people turn bad? Sure they can, but let’s remember that a firearm is just an inanimate object…as is a hammer…or a knife…or a baseball bat…or a golf trophy…or anything else that may be used to kill a person. When one person makes the decision to kill another, the weapon they use is inconsequential. Are you going to make hammers, knives, baseball bats, and golf trophies illegal too?

    It would be interesting to know how many people are murdered every day with firearms vs other means. Think about all the murders that occur every day without firearms solely in the prison system.

    Gun control absolutely will not work…as the 32 unarmed victims have so grusomely proven.

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  34. Dawn says:

    I have a burning question i would like aired and answered!

    Whats up with the fact that the police ASSUMED the gunman had left campus!!

    I am a nurse and in the medical field we are to assume nothing!!! I would believe the same should be with police matters as well.

    what do you think?

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  35. Samantha says:

    I would just like to say that as someone who just lost some one at VT. I think that we are all still hurting and the wounds to fresh to be thinking about any of this. My main thoughts are with the victims families who are in absolute pain over the slaughter of innocent lives.

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  36. Bithead says:

    It’s like the fallacy that if you tke guns away from the law abiding only criminals will have guns

    Spoken like someone who hasn’t been watching the news the last few days….

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