Virginia Tech Shootings – 33 Dead
A shooting spree at Virginia Tech has left 21 victims dead, not counting the gunman.
“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.
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.