Monday, April 16, 2007

AMERICA'S DEADLIEST SCHOOL SHOOTING - Feds: 32 Dead in Virginia Tech Shooting

Statement by President Charles W. Steger on Virginia Tech Shootings
Feds: 32 Dead in Virginia Tech Shooting 21 people were wounded Last Edited: Monday, 16 Apr 2007, 12:10 PM MDT Created: Monday, 16 Apr 2007, 11:32 AM MDT


A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech University Monday, killing 31 people in what has become the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, federal authorities said.

The gunman was killed but it was unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life.

UPDATE2: Witnesses tell Fox News that the gunman entered the school looking for his girlfriend...lined up his victims, then shot them.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," said Virginia Tech president Charles Steger. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."

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.

The name of the gunman was not released.

Up until Monday, the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history took place in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire. He killed 16 people before he was gunned down by police. In the Columbine High School shooting near Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

After the shootings, all entrances to the campus were closed and classes canceled through Tuesday.

"There's just a lot of commotion. It's hard to tell exactly what's going on," said Jason Anthony Smith, 19, who lives in the dorm where shooting took place.

Aimee Kanode, a freshman from Martinsville, said the shooting happened on the 4th floor of West Ambler Johnston dormitory, one floor above her room. Kanode's resident assistant knocked on her door about 8 a.m. to notify students to stay put.

"They had us under lockdown," Kanode said. "They temporarily lifted the lockdown, the gunman shot again."

"We're all locked in our dorms surfing the Internet trying to figure out what's going on," Kanode said.

Madison Van Duyne, a student who was interviewed by telephone on CNN, said, "We are all in lockdown. Most of the students are sitting on the floors away from the windows just trying to be as safe as possible."

It was second time in less than a year that the campus was closed because of a shooting.

In August 2006, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area. A sheriff's deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus.

Shooting Timeline

7:15 a.m. EST
Shootings reported at Va. Tech campus at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a co-ed residence hall that houses 895 people.

8 a.m. EST
Aimee Kanode, a freshman from Martinsville on the third floor of West Ambler Johnston dormitory says she was notified to stay in her room by her resident assistant.

9:15 a.m. EST
A shooting reported at Norris Hall, an engineering building.

9:47 a.m., a Virginia Tech student news site, reports shots were fired on campus in West Ambler Johnson Hall.

10:04 a.m. reports the university encourages everyone to stay indoors and away from windows. West Ambler Johnston and Squires are locked down.

10:20 a.m. reports, all classes are canceled.

10:36 a.m. reports, due to serious wind helicopters cannot
be used to transfer the injured. According to police scanners, ambulances used to transport the victims to Montgomery Regional Hospital.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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