Report: At least 20 29 32 dead, 28 wounded in shooting at Virginia Tech; Update: Chinese man on student visa? Update: Two suspects?

posted at 12:28 pm on April 16, 2007 by Allahpundit

Good lord. I’ve been peeking at this story for hours and until a few minutes ago there was one reported dead and the gunman was in custody. Now the death toll is 22 and the gunman is supposedly dead too.

Standby.

Update: Apparently one of the cops said at the presser that many of the dead were students in classrooms. The gunman had an ammo vest on and was unloading at will.

Update: They think there’s only one shooter, but verrrry odd: “Local FOX affiliate WFXR-TV in Richmond reported that one shooting occurred between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, and another at 10 a.m. at Norris Hall.”

Update: More oddness from Fox: “On April 13, the campus closed three of its academic halls after they received a letter stating that explosive devices were in the building. Classes were canceled for the remainder of the day. A bomb threat was also made against Torgerson Hall on April 2.”

Update: Someone told Fox — purely unconfirmed — that the suspect went into Norris Hall looking for his girlfriend, then lined a bunch of people up and shot them execution-style. The debate at the moment is what kind of weapon he must have had.

Update: The scene at Norris Hall:

vtech.jpg

Update: The press corps is already pushing Dana Perino about gun control. Drudge is pushing the other way.

Update: According to NBC, the killer used two 9mm handguns and killed himself. It’s officially the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.

Update (Ian): Gun control talk at the WH briefing:


Update: Just got this from a reader who says it was posted on his VTech frat listserv. Grain of salt:

Zach just got back and he told us his story. he can tell u the details better but he deserves to be recognized immediately. He was in norris hall and heard the gunshots comign from down the hall. while others hid in the class room zach got up and got a few others to help him baracade the door with desks. He could hear the gunman coming down the hall opening doors n firing into class rooms. Zach then saw his door handle turn and the gun man tried to get in but zach slammed the door back shut, others then got up to help, trying to hold the door shut with desks. zach then said he heard the the gunman reload a new magazine and fired two shots directly through the door, luckily didnt hit anybody. the gunman then gave up an continued down the hall

Update: 29 now, says ABC News. Now Fox says it’s 32, according to federal sources.

Update: Virginia Tech’s college newspaper is posting bulletins here.

Update: CNN’s got video taken by someone on campus this morning. You can see the cops approaching the building and hear rounds being fired in the background. Apologies for the relatively long commercial; I’ll replace this with an embeddable clip once it pops up on LiveLeak or wherever. Click the image to watch. Update: Okay, replaced it with a video sans commercial.

Update: Thinking on the Margin has a map of the campus and notes that there’s quite a bit of distance between the two scenes of the crimes.

Update: Fox is hearing that the gunman might have chained the doors shut to stop people from escaping.

Update: According to WaPo, this is now the deadliest shooting spree of any kind, on campus or off, in American history. And if Wikipedia is right, it’s already the third worst in modern world history.

Update: It might not be relevant, but the Blotter’s found its angle and it’s sticking to it.

Update: Bush is going to speak at 4:15. I can’t imagine he’ll have anything interesting to say but we’ll have video. Here’s a description of the suspect from NBC and a suggestion that this wasn’t as random as it might seem:

The name of the gunman, whom witnesses described as a young Asian man wearing a maroon cap and a black leather jacket, was not released. It was not known if he was a student.

The man did not appear to be shooting at random, NBC News’ Pete Williams reported, quoting federal law enforcement officials. He appeared to have specifically targeted the two locations, a co-ed dormitory and a classroom in an engineering building.

Update: Drudge just linked to this video at LiveLeak from MSNBC of one of the shooting victims describing the gunman. According to the victim, he emptied a full magazine into the room, hitting between 10 to 15 people.

Update (Ian): A moment of silence in the House:


Update: ABC News is collecting eyewitness reactions. The V Tech administration is in for a world of trouble, it sounds like: “Communication from college? I checked my e-mail about 8:30…I went to my class as I usually would. By 8:30 no one was notified that something had happened at 7. We went onto a dangerous campus not knowing…”

Update (Ian): Obama makes a statement:


Update: More complaints about the university being slow to notify students after the first shooting:

“What happened today this was ridiculous,” student Jason Piatt told CNN. He said the first warning from the university of a shooting on campus came in an e-mail about two hours after the first deadly burst of gunfire. “While they’re sending out that e-mail, 22 more people got killed,” Piatt said.

Update: Dan Riehl‘s following rumors on the V Tech sports bulletin board that the shooter caught his girlfriend in bed with someone and shot both of them. That doesn’t make sense, though; how often do crimes of passion turn into spree killings?

Update: It’s 33 now, according to the president of V Tech.

Update: Dan’s theory makes more sense if you assume that the killer had been dumped recently by his GF and went to her dorm intending to kill her in the first place. In that case he might have planned the rampage beforehand.

Update (Ian): President Bush said the nation is “shocked and saddened” at a 4pm press conference:


Update: NBC is reporting that the first warning to students didn’t go out until the shooting in Norris Hall had begun:

About 9:15, the gunman chained the doors of the classroom building so his potential victims could not escape and police could not enter. Once inside There, he shot more than 50 people in multiple classrooms.

Not until 9:26 a.m. did the first warning to students and employees go out by e-mail, according to the time stamps on copies obtained by NBC News. By then, the shooting was over.

The first e-mail had few details. It said: “A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.” The message warned students to be cautious and contact police about anything suspicious.

Maurice Hiller, a student, told The Associated Press that he went to a 9 a.m. class just two buildings away from the engineering building and that no warnings were coming over the outdoor public address system on campus at the time.

Update: VTech student Erin Sheehan was in German class when the killer opened the door and “peeked in”:

“It seemed so strange,” Sheehan said. “Because he peaked in twice, earlier in the lesson, like he was looking for someone, somebody, before he started shooting. But then we all heard something like drilling in the walls, and someone thought they sounded like bullets. That’s when we blockaded the door to stop anyone from coming in.”

“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit. He wore a tan button up vest, and this black vest, maybe it was for ammo or something.”

“I saw bullets hit people’s body,” Sheehan said.

Update: I read somewhere earlier that it’s only a 10 minute walk or so between the dorm and Norris Hall. Where did the killer go between 7:15 and 9?

Update: Why wasn’t the school shut down after the first shooting? “According to Dr. Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, the administration locked down Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But classes weren’t cancelled because it was believed to be a domestic dispute and campus police thought that the shooter had left the campus.”

Update: Sounds like the cops know who the killer is. The 7:30 press conference is coming up; maybe they’re about to reveal.

Investigators offered no motive for the attack, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Police have been working on identifying the suspect and say they expect to release the name in the coming hours. When asked if the gunman was a student, police say “something like that,” indicating that perhaps he was a teaching assistant, reports Orr.

Update: The cops are being awfully coy about not linking the first shooting to the second, insisting that they’re waiting for lab tests to come back. The Chicago Sun-Times claims to have a hot tip about the killer’s — or one of the killers’ — ID:

Authorities were investigating whether the gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history was a Chinese man who arrived in the United States last year on a student visa.

The 24-year-old man arrived in San Francisco on United Airlines on Aug. 7 on a visa issued in Shanghai, the source said. Investigators have not linked him to any terrorist groups, the source said.

Police believe three bomb threats on the campus last week may have been attempts by the man to test the campus’ security response, the source said.

Update: I’m utterly confused by the press conference. The cops claim they were speaking to a “person of interest” in the first shooting, who knew the two victims, when they got the word about the second shooting. They refuse to say whether that person has been ruled out yet.

Update: An interesting tip from reader Michael B. — there was a gun show in Roanoke County this weekend. Says Michael, he could have purchased anything he needed there with minimal background checks.

Update: Via Drudge, the Daily Mail embellishes the caught-in-bed theory: “He was said to have quarrelled in a dormitory with his girlfriend, whom he believed had been seeing another man. A student adviser was called to sort out the row. But the killer produced a gun and shot dead both his girlfriend and the adviser.”

Update: MSNBC says the “person of interest” is cooperating with police, is not in custody, and is not believed to be under suspicion. Federal and state cops all say they think it’s the work of a lone gunman.

Update: Early reports of two 9mm handguns appear to have been wrong. It was one 9mm and one .22.


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Sorry, if I came off as a jerk. I really didn’t intend to; I should have worded my response a little differently.

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 5:15 PM

Ditto. Peace.

I’m going to go find a beer. And go to the gun store.

Professor Blather on April 16, 2007 at 5:22 PM

Guys, c’mon…. There is a much deeper problem here than gun ownership/carry laws.

Why does this keep happening? How did our country give birth to such a nightmare as this?

unamused on April 16, 2007 at 5:23 PM

I’m just going to play devil’s advocate here with an argument I’ve seen embedded in the comments. I am in favor of licensed concealed carry rights for college teachers and administrators. I don’t think I’d want it in the hands of the ordinary student given the stupidity that could happen on a drunk night, but I am in favor of the right people having this power. If I were a college professor, I’d be begging for it.

OK, the devil’s advocate part. If I were a nutjob who had just discovered his girlfriend sleeping around, and I were deranged enough to feel like going out and executing God knows how many people, I don’t think concealed carry rights for such people would stop me. Here’s why.

One, I’d be too crazy to care.

Two, how many professors would actually want to carry??? Colleges are, after all, breeding grounds of liberalism, and gun control is one of their sacred beliefs. I think the numbers of professors who would carry wouldn’t be a deterrent unless these terrible events happened with much greater frequency. Even today, the odds are still way too far in the favor of the wacko.

Three, with that number of carriers being so low, I wonder if it would actually endanger those who carry. The identity of carrier(s) surely would be figured out eventually, and I’d think that, in some kind of coordinated effort, they’d be the first ones targeted. With point two standing, chances are there’d only be one per building, after all. Get rid of him, and the playing field is as tilted as it was today.

I say these things only as a devil’s advocate. I’d want a fighting chance myself. I feel terrible for the families of those who have been slaughtered today.

flutejpl on April 16, 2007 at 5:24 PM

A police officer friend of mine agrees with me that the killer was trained with the weapons he used. Whether self-taught or military/ law enforcement doesn’t matter. The
murderer was definitely experienced.
I pray for the families of the deceased and wounded.
Such a sad day in America.

gary on April 16, 2007 at 5:26 PM

As someone who has actually worked on a campus-wide emergency communications problem, the challenge is not in sending out email communications to several thousand people. That is technically trivial.

The real challenge is having a campus emergency response plan that has been practiced to the point of perfection and a campus administration that is willing to follow it.

At the institution where I work, we recently had our own event that fortunately did not result in any physical harm to any students. However, just one month prior to that event we had created a campus-wide emergency communications plan. No had even looked at it or practiced it, so students were caught unawares. As a matter of fact, a part of the plan had been caught up in bureaucratic red tape with our procurement office, who had not approved the expenditures for that portion of the plan (less than $50 a year).

It is absolutely inexcusable that the campus administration did not have the means nor the willingness to implement a campus-wide emergency communication plan.

lordsquirrel on April 16, 2007 at 5:26 PM

Dude, the lockdown held them in place. Then if someone stands in the doorway, it’s duck hunt. These kids aren’t Neo for crying out loud.

MirCat on April 16, 2007 at 5:11 PM

I think the professor’s questions are reasonable. There are just too many “ifs” in this whole thing, and I’m lukewarm to what the media tell me in these situations; they tend to report a lot of rumor in order to be the first to get it on the air.

So, if he barracaded the door, did he do it with chains or his body? Did he carry the chains into the building and if so, why didn’t that draw attention? If it was his body, I don’t think the casualty rate would be as high because he would be unable to move and the weapon he used is inaccurate at distances of more that 10 feet (Gun experts, feel free to correct me on that if I’m wrong. I’m just an amateur).

I think we’ll have to wait at least a week to begin to piece together the details of what happened.

I think we have to wait

bert169 on April 16, 2007 at 5:27 PM

Lets break this down, Blather

School shootings? Thankfully none. Firearms? Five years, USMC, expert at every qual with both the 9 millimeter (.45 one year) and the M-16. Questions?

Alright, well I’ll spill, we had a small one at my high school, which is why I’m so antsy and comment-y about this whole thing, particularly regarding speculations. When it first happened, some of the earliest reports were six dead, so I’m a little touchy about assumptions.

Again – Columbine had two shooters. In addition to handguns, they each used a 12-gauge; one of them also used a 9 mm carbine semi-auto rifle.

Their massacre was carefully pre-planned – and they only killed 12 people – with twice as many wounded.

We only had one injury, so it was very small, but it was revealing of a lot of things. In particular how ineffective the school is at organizing an effective response/lockdown/evacuation/resistence. When the shooter ordered the students to the ground, nearly everyone complied a few ran, and the teachers ran out of the room. I wasn’t in there, but I had family who was.

By any standard, what happened today was extraordinary. SIXTY plus people, more than half fatalities. Unless Google is lying to me, it’s never happened before. Ever. Even with larger caliber weapons, automatic weapons, and shotguns. And this guy reportedly had one 9 mm and a .22?

It was not done by an untrained, unprepared, unskilled individual. I guarantee it. Not sure why this is controversial.

No doubt it was planned well by someone with at least basic competence with a gun.

Frankly, the “execution style” scenario is the only one that even seems plausible. As ugly as it is to consider. And since that scenario doesn’t seem very probable, either, I’ll just repeat: there’s more to the story.

I would agree in the general, not necessarily in the specific. I think that the duck and cover scenario would provide a quick thinking shooter a slaughterhouse if they knew to exploit it, effectively an equivalent to your execution scenario, even with minimal weaponry.

Or maybe he just played way too much GTA-Vice City. That’s the theory my television is currently telling me.

Professor Blather on April 16, 2007 at 5:08 PM

I hate Jack Thompson.

Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 5:30 PM

No matter how you approach the readiness and planning of emergency response at VT, something clearly went very wrong.

Either they planned it wrong, or executed it wrong or both. 30+ bodies are the proof.

I could care less who gets in trouble for it too. I’m more worried about copy cats who are a hair away from snapping on some other campus right now.

We better find a way to improve the value we place on human life as a country or we will see many more days like this one…

unamused on April 16, 2007 at 5:33 PM

Have you ever been on campus at the end of a semester when the parents show up to get their kids? I’ll be the Tech campus looks just like that by tomorrow morning.

Retread on April 16, 2007 at 5:33 PM

We have a reverse 911 system in my parts. If need be a emergency message is sent out to all land line phones in our county.

I think it would be wise to at least install a similar system in every college, university and K-12 school in the nation.

Sammy316 on April 16, 2007 at 5:33 PM

When that first cameraphone video still went to an external news site, there was an interview with a kid who said he called the school at 10am to ask whether to come in or not, and they told him to “cautiously go on and attend classes.”

At the time, the interviewer (and I) thought the second shooting was closer to noon, so she said “that was before the second shooting.” Now it looks like it wasn’t? Where was that link?

Tanya on April 16, 2007 at 5:34 PM

What to do now? Here’s a CCW link. Who’s coming with me?

Buck Turgidson on April 16, 2007 at 5:34 PM

Guys, c’mon…. There is a much deeper problem here than gun ownership/carry laws.

Why does this keep happening? How did our country give birth to such a nightmare as this?

unamused on April 16, 2007 at 5:23 PM

I’m pretty sure, if you checked the records Rome probably had a problem with someone going to market and swinging a sword around . . difference it, more people then were armed and it wouldn’t last long.

So, if he barracaded the door, did he do it with chains or his body?

bert169 on April 16, 2007 at 5:27 PM

According to the presser the doors were chained from the inside. In otherwords it was the profs and things. If the doors were windowed, it’s just a matter of busting the glass and bang bang. The kids were more than likely huddled together.

MirCat on April 16, 2007 at 5:37 PM

So, if he barracaded the door, did he do it with chains or his body? Did he carry the chains into the building and if so, why didn’t that draw attention? If it was his body, I don’t think the casualty rate would be as high because he would be unable to move and the weapon he used is inaccurate at distances of more that 10 feet (Gun experts, feel free to correct me on that if I’m wrong. I’m just an amateur).

He could have simply pushed a few desks up to the door. Think about trying to remove those desks while a gunman is standing a few feet away taking pot shots at you. The barricade need not be very secure, it need only delay someone trying to leave.

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 5:40 PM

This is bad, and the liberal media is going to have a field day spinning this.

You know Rosie is getting off on this right now.

The NY Times (among others) will have an editorial on how this relates to the war in Iraq and the violence it breeds in our culture (hey, it’s not far fetched… they wrote the same editorial already, but based on super bowl commercials).

RightWinged on April 16, 2007 at 5:42 PM

Who is on the VA Tech board of regents? I tried their web-site but got timed out. Not to lock the whole place up at 7:15am was insanity.

Limerick on April 16, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Everything gets leaked and the eew yuck slimes can’t get this guy’s name?

MirCat on April 16, 2007 at 5:45 PM

Gee, mass killing only seem to happen in ‘gun free’ zones.
Coincidents? NOT!!

docdave on April 16, 2007 at 5:45 PM

I don’t think the casualty rate would be as high because he would be unable to move and the weapon he used is inaccurate at distances of more that 10 feet (Gun experts, feel free to correct me on that if I’m wrong. I’m just an amateur).

A decent pistol? Try more like 10 meters away (30 feet).

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 5:49 PM

9/11 Deniers such as Alex Jones are already pissing on the school shooting victims.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2007/160407blackop.htm

MarkyX on April 16, 2007 at 5:49 PM

Do we know if this guy is a liberal or not? Has he ever donated to the DNC? Is there a picture of him with Senator Webb?

Nonfactor on April 16, 2007 at 5:50 PM

I don’t get it. The shootings were hours apart and a great distance from each other, yet the police say there was only one gunman? (who killed himself)

I’m no CSI agent, but could it be that there was a second gunman who simply escaped?

Note: Prayers for the families of this incident. Utter Sadness.

Darnell Clayton on April 16, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Darnell Clayton on April 16, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Definitely something that needs to be cleared up, but it’s also possible that the shooter simply walked out of the building to the other.

Nonfactor on April 16, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Those looking for historical shooting examples should check this disturbing one out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_Massacre

Twenty-five year-old Marc Lépine carried out a shooting rampage at the school, killing fourteen women and wounding four men and ten women before committing suicide.

What’s interesting (to me at least) is HOW he did it
Lépine then separated the nine women from the approximately fifty men and told the men to leave, which they did.[4] Speaking in French, he asked the remaining women whether they knew why they were there, and when one student replied “no,” he answered: “I am fighting feminism.” One of the students, Nathalie Provost, said, “Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life.” Lépine responded, “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists.” Lépine then opened fire on the students from left to right, killing six and wounding three others, including Provost.[1][5]

Kai on April 16, 2007 at 5:56 PM

Thoughts and Prayers for VT, families, students.

what a sad day.

sunny on April 16, 2007 at 5:56 PM

unamused: “Why does this keep happening? How did our country give birth to such a nightmare as this?”

It doesn’t happen very often. That’s why it’s big news when it does.

Most gun homicides are perpetrated by criminals against criminals, which is to say, it is a feature of the illegal drug trade. Most gunshot victims have arrest records as do their shooters. Such violence is common to all criminal environments.

I might also point out that studies of 13th century England found the same murder rate as modern times, except that back then most murders were perpetrated with the knives everybody carried.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Ignore the delusionally p.c. “weapon free zone” laws.

It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

profitsbeard on April 16, 2007 at 5:59 PM

One student told Fox News, that he attended 2 classes, before the school went into lockdown. Thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims of this terrible tragedy. According to reports, some brave students shoved him out the door of a classroom, and held it closed, even as he shot through the door at them.

amerpundit on April 16, 2007 at 3:02 PM

Brave? No, they just pushed the guy to the next class room to kill those kids. Sort of putting a half way house for child molesters in the next neighborhood.

Brave would have been trying to stop the guy from killing more.

They just tried to survive. I’m not faulting them for that, but I wouldn’t call it brave.

Tim Burton on April 16, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Update from MMs:

Update:

A student e-mails…

Dear Michelle,

I was in Norris Hall today when the shootings took place. I thought I’d give you my account in case you wanted more information.

It was just a regular day in class; the door was open and we heard a pop-pop-popping noise. Sounded like some kind of construction but it was getting disruptive so we went to close the door, and one of the girls stepped out in the hallway to see what it was. She saw the gun and ran back inside the room and slammed the door shut and we all got down on the floor.

We heard pretty much continuous shooting for the next minute or so, and I said, “Shouldn’t we barricade the door,” because we were sitting ducks with no way out inside that room if he opened the door. A couple more people floated the idea that “We need to barricade the door, NOW.” But I was too scared to even move, much less move the teacher’s desk.

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn’t get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn’t put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.

When the police arrived five minutes later we heard them call for him to surrender his weapon and some more, irregular shots. Another five minutes later the police knocked and yelled “Police!” and we yelled “How do we know?” and when a second voice confirmed that it was in fact police, we opened the door. An officer came in and told us to line up single file, take nothing with us (I grabbed my coat) and run out the door single file while another officer escorted us.

We entered the hallway. Blood, bullet casings, and empty pistol clips were everywhere; this was definitely the most horrifying sight of my entire life. We ran past quickly. A door to the stairwell had been opened and there was a massive trail of blood; we found out later that a class had tried to escape only to find that the monster had chained the doors shut before starting his rampage. They were all killed.

We all ran to a nearby building and stayed there until we could be processed, and that was the end of it. Thank you all for your concerns and prayers, but please mostly pray for those who were seriously injured or hurt today.

Also, let me say that the response from the campus, local, and state police was exemplary. Within five minutes of the first shots, police were gathering outside. In another ten minutes, the threat had been neutralized and the building was secure. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the brave men and women who kept us safe today.

–Jacob Simmons
junior, Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech

The number of emptied clips stuck out to me. I still think its entirely plausible that this guy did this with two regular pistols, and just had a bunch of clips and ammo.

Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Why no ID? Easy.
1. It’s easier to confirm ID when you think you know who it is. Harder if you have to run prints locally and then, if no hit, through NCIC/FBI(could take 2-3 weeks on a lower profile case). And if no prints on record, then the person remains a DOE until they get another lead. Maybe a missing person report.
2. The police don’t care if you want to know. They have more important things on their minds. Like insuring that both scenes are related and not screwing up the evidence if they aren’t. How much would you scream incompentence if they screwed up evidence and a second offender got away on a technicality?
3. Even if they know, they aren’t going to release the name until they’ve tried to contact next of kin. This individual probably has relatives out there that aren’t responsible for this and deserve more respect than to hear that their relative died on the evening news. Think how your mother would feel to hear for the first time about your death on TV.

Catseye on April 16, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Oy. I really don’t want to get into this debate, but that’s exactly what happened at that Amish school a few months ago. He lined those kids up by the blackboard and shot them one after another.

Tanya on April 16, 2007 at 4:38 PM

The difference is that Amish are pacifists. They believe it is their duty to Christ to turn the other cheek and turn the other cheek.

While I strongly disagree with them doctrinally on that point, I still respect their Godliness in their lives.

Tim Burton on April 16, 2007 at 6:03 PM

They just tried to survive. I’m not faulting them for that, but I wouldn’t call it brave.

Tim Burton on April 16, 2007 at 6:00 PM

You can be brave when trying to survive. There is a difference between foolhardiness and cowardice; Aristotle called it courage.

Nonfactor on April 16, 2007 at 6:06 PM

While I am pro-2nd Ammendment, I don’t think gun control has much application here. Even if you got a free gun with your student ID, were required to take marksmanship your freshman year, and were issued a concealed carry permit as part of your prerequisites, who is gonna carry a gun to class on a college campus? If your campus is that dangerous, it’s time to transfer.

The fact is that this could have happenned anywhere: a shopping mall, a restaurant, an office building, a sports event. All the gun control laws in the world can’t stop it. Even with concealed carry laws, you’re relying on wild luck for defense.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:06 PM

Where did the killer go between 7:15 and 9?

My guess…home to get more guns and ammo.

John on April 16, 2007 at 6:07 PM

A look back at the Odighizuwa case. Gamil Gharbi (Lepine) was an Algerian-Canadian. His massacre of female students at Montreal U. is covered here.

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 6:07 PM

Within five minutes of the first shots, police were gathering outside. In another ten minutes, the threat had been neutralized and the building was secure.

That’s because they were all across campus investigating the double homicide that had occurred 2 hours earlier.

John on April 16, 2007 at 6:11 PM

Why does this keep happening? How did our country give birth to such a nightmare as this?

unamused on April 16, 2007 at 5:23 PM

Best explanation I have read is in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Malcolm Gladwell

It’s about how trends, good AND bad, go viral.

I add my voice to Hot Air’s outpouring of love and support for the families and survivors.

RushBaby on April 16, 2007 at 6:16 PM

What has happened to our youth? Granted I have an entirely different set of life experiences to draw on, but believe it or not my first instinct after making sure those around me were safe would have been to run to the sounds of the guns. I would of course try to have something to fight with but the accounts I am seeing and reading it sounds like these kids just cowered and waited to get shot like sheep to the slaughter. It does not sound like anybody went on the offensive.
Somewhere we need to get back to honoring heroes, real heroes and showing our youth what real bravery is. I would hate to think they were more afraid of lawyers then they were a man with loaded weapon.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 6:17 PM

who is gonna carry a gun to class on a college campus?

The fact is that this could have happenned anywhere: a shopping mall, a restaurant, an office building, a sports event.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:06 PM

You just answered your own question. EVERYONE would be carrying a gun to class, because EVERY CLASS is that dangerous now. There’s nowhere to hide.

Gregor on April 16, 2007 at 6:20 PM

who is gonna carry a gun to class on a college campus? If your campus is that dangerous, it’s time to transfer.

You don’t carry at a school because of daily threats, you do because of isolated cases like this. Believe me, after the shooting happened at my high school, I played in my head what to do in nearly every room I ever entered at college, assessing what I could barricade classrooms with, things I could use as weapons, escape routes and exits, I realize that sounds completely insane, but I’d do it without thinking about it. I still do it when I go to new places.

I don’t own a

Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 6:21 PM

The criticism of the university for not sending a notification faster seems to be unwarranted. I can’t imagine anyone would think that a single incidence of one person being shot in a dorm would turn into a Columbine. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that

sweetlipsbutterhoney on April 16, 2007 at 6:21 PM

OK More bizareness

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3045574

Authorites are having trouble identifying the Gunman because the gunman shot himself in the back of the head ?????

William Amos on April 16, 2007 at 6:21 PM

Professor Blather: “How is it even possible that one gunman could kill so many people? Why do we let this happen?”

The gunman walked into the classrooms and opened fire. There was only one exit, the doorway, and he was in front of it. They could not escape. The kids all hit the floor and he spent a minute firing at them at close range. The metric that he killed 32 out of some fifty shot, 50+%, tells you that these were aimed shots at close range. In combat before body armor, the ratio would be one dead to three or four wounded.

This is why the military trains you to attack through the ambush. The longer you stay in the kill zone, the more likely you will be killed. Of course, everyone has to rush the ambush to defeat it. Nobody rushed the shooter here. That’s why so many kids died. The politically correct passive doctrine of dealing with violence is deadly.

And we didn’t let this happen. The shooter did it and bears all the blame, not the university nor society nor bad toilet training.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:22 PM

Why haven’t they released a name??????

PRCalDude on April 16, 2007 at 6:22 PM

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn’t get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn’t put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.

No, Mr Simmons, You traded your life for those in the classroom across the hall. Even after hearing him open fire you still did nothing to try and help them. Damn right I am harsh but if it was your child in that classroom across the hall you might ask Mr Simmons the same question.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

What to do now? Here’s a CCW link. Who’s coming with me?

Not me. The sheriff in my county only issues permits to campaign contributors.

Bad Penny on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Where did the killer go between 7:15 and 9?

My guess…home to get more guns and ammo.

John on April 16, 2007 at 6:07 PM

And then, I suppose, he just waltzed right back onto campus without being spotted by the police investigating the first shooting?

Right.

This is a complete cover up.

Gregor on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

This is a complete cover up.

Gregor on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Yep.

PRCalDude on April 16, 2007 at 6:24 PM

…sh*t, posted, don’t own a gun. I do plan on going to classes getting my permit at some point, and I’ll probably get one at some point.

Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 6:24 PM

Update: I read somewhere earlier that it’s only a 10 minute walk or so between the dorm and Norris Hall. Where did the killer go between 7:15 and 9?

One does not simply stroll across campus after shooting people up. Especially if its premeditated.

lorien1973 on April 16, 2007 at 6:25 PM

The difference is that Amish are pacifists. They believe it is their duty to Christ to turn the other cheek and turn the other cheek.

The Amish victims were also 8 year old girls.

Quisp on April 16, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Gregor: “You just answered your own question. EVERYONE would be carrying a gun to class, because EVERY CLASS is that dangerous now. There’s nowhere to hide.”

Actually, classrooms are pretty safe places to be as opposed to, say, crackhouses or the parking lots of nightclubs at 2 AM. You are at greater risk of being struck by lightning than being shot in class. If you think you need a gun to defend yourself in class, you should also carry a lightning rod with you and ground it to deflect bolts of lightning.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:27 PM

On CNN

University police Chief Wendell Flinchum said police were still investigating whether the two incidents are related. Investigators are not ruling out a second shooter,

William Amos on April 16, 2007 at 6:28 PM

You just answered your own question. EVERYONE would be carrying a gun to class, because EVERY CLASS is that dangerous now. There’s nowhere to hide.

Gregor on April 16, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Don’t overreact. There is literally a one in a million chance that a child will be shot at school. Yes, it should be zero, but you do realize more children die because they don’t wear helmets when they’re bike riding to school and we still don’t have a national helmet law.

Nonfactor on April 16, 2007 at 6:28 PM

If he shot himself under the chin and the bullet was soft-nosed, he could certainly take at least part of his face off.

Sorry for the gruesome image, but we shouldn’t get too caught up in our conspiracy fantasies.

nukemhill on April 16, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Easy, guys. The 24 hour media rule surely went into effect by 11am, and I’m thisclose to invoking the 48 hour rule (that is, we won’t hear anything that’s true for the first 24 to 48 hours).

It looks like the admin is a mess on this, but there are 33+ dead kids there, and they are in shock. I’ll be waiting a couple days before expecting any intelligent reports.

(PS F**k Brian Ross)

Jaibones on April 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

You are at greater risk of being struck by lightning than being shot in class. If you think you need a gun to defend yourself in class, you should also carry a lightning rod with you and ground it to deflect bolts of lightning.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Oh really? So, there were almost 90 people struck by lighting in Virginia over the last year? How about in one day? In three hours?

Seems like your numbers are a little off.

Gregor on April 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

No, Mr Simmons, You traded your life for those in the classroom across the hall. Even after hearing him open fire you still did nothing to try and help them. Damn right I am harsh but if it was your child in that classroom across the hall you might ask Mr Simmons the same question.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Does anyone here understand what it is to be foolhardy?

Nonfactor on April 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

It said that the shot himself in the back of the head

William Amos on April 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

The criticism of the university for not sending a notification faster seems to be unwarranted. I can’t imagine anyone would think that a single incidence of one person being shot in a dorm would turn into a Columbine. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that

Shootings of any kind on campus are so rare, why would anyone take any chances? Declare an emergency, cancel classes, and have students remain in their dorms until the coast is clear.

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 6:32 PM

The gunman walked into the classrooms and opened fire. There was only one exit, the doorway, and he was in front of it. They could not escape. The kids all hit the floor and he spent a minute firing at them at close range. The metric that he killed 32 out of some fifty shot, 50+%, tells you that these were aimed shots at close range. In combat before body armor, the ratio would be one dead to three or four wounded.

This is why the military trains you to attack through the ambush. The longer you stay in the kill zone, the more likely you will be killed. Of course, everyone has to rush the ambush to defeat it. Nobody rushed the shooter here. That’s why so many kids died. The politically correct passive doctrine of dealing with violence is deadly.

And we didn’t let this happen. The shooter did it and bears all the blame, not the university nor society nor bad toilet training.

Tantor on April 16, 2007 at 6:22 PM

RobertCSampson on April 16, 2007 at 6:32 PM

You don’t carry at a school because of daily threats, you do because of isolated cases like this. Believe me, after the shooting happened at my high school, I played in my head what to do in nearly every room I ever entered at college, assessing what I could barricade classrooms with, things I could use as weapons, escape routes and exits, I realize that sounds completely insane, but I’d do it without thinking about it. I still do it when I go to new places.

I don’t own a

Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 6:21 PM

It makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one.

I’ve always thought I was a bit paranoid, but I do the same thing – especially in large, crowded areas. I’m always, in the back of my mind, looking for exits, escape routes, makeshift weapons. I never allowed anyone to stand directly behind me on the subway platform (especially when, my freshman year, some crazy person started pushing people onto the tracks). I always listen/check for people walking behind me when I’m walking alone at night.

All that and I’ve never been involved in any sort of violence (except for being 4 blocks away from WTC on 9/11). Like I said, perhaps I’m paranoid, but it’s not an obsession, my brain just handles it while I go about my business.

JadeNYU on April 16, 2007 at 6:33 PM

reading it sounds like these kids just cowered and waited to get shot like sheep to the slaughter.

I understand that this is a big ROTC campus. I would be interested to hear what the cadets did…

Babs on April 16, 2007 at 6:33 PM

I meant to say ditto to Tantor’s comments. Well said and accurate in every way on every point.

It’s only a matter of time now until they come for my guns and my copy of counterstrike.

RobertCSampson on April 16, 2007 at 6:33 PM

That bulletin just popped up. Before it was just saying he shot himself in the head, not in the back of the head. I’m inclined to invoke the 24hr rule here, too. We’re going to get a huge amount of inaccurate information for the next day or so. The scenario I painted above could easily explain the problem, and someone saying that the perp shot himself in the back of the head is just a misinterpretation of a brief look at the physical evidence.

I’m not trying to make excuses here, or “cover” for someone. I just don’t think we have nearly enough info to make any real assessments yet. Give it time. Take a breath. Say a prayer.

nukemhill on April 16, 2007 at 6:39 PM

Oh really? So, there were almost 90 people struck by lighting in Virginia over the last year? How about in one day? In three hours?

Seems like your numbers are a little off.

You can play that game with numbers by cherry-picking the times and the geographical locations as much as you want and get any result you want. If lightning struck and killed somebody at 9:05:35 on April 15, 2006 in Boise, Idaho, I could ask how many people on campus had been shot in Idaho in one second versus how many people died of lighting in that particular second and make it sound like lightning was a serious worry for everyone. But clearly, over any serious length of time, fatalities due to campus shootings are rare events.

tommy1 on April 16, 2007 at 6:39 PM

Once more we have the same problem. In gun free zones only the “nutcase” has a gun. The president of the University and the state legislature should be held responsible for this outrage. If anyone except the killer had have been armed the outcome would have been much different.

duff65 on April 16, 2007 at 6:39 PM

OK Its saying now he shot himself in the face so isnt back of the head.

William Amos on April 16, 2007 at 6:42 PM

Well today getting shot in the classroom was a very serious danger to the kids at Va Tech.

EnochCain on April 16, 2007 at 6:43 PM

The only good news of the day:

It said that the shot himself in the back of the head

William Amos on April 16, 2007 at 6:30 PM

Buck Turgidson on April 16, 2007 at 6:44 PM

Once more we have the same problem. In gun free zones only the “nutcase” has a gun. The president of the University and the state legislature should be held responsible for this outrage. If anyone except the killer had have been armed the outcome would have been much different.

duff65 on April 16, 2007 at 6:39 PM

These things always end with a bullet. Quicker is better.

Stephen M on April 16, 2007 at 6:45 PM

What’s really needed is better security at our campuses. Heck, not too long ago I graduated from the Univ. of Maryland…huge campus, but only the main gate had security, and no visible security at all around campus.

Anyone could get in, and wreak havok not unsimilar to this. Our elementary schools are better prepared for this…

JetBoy on April 16, 2007 at 6:49 PM

Authorites are having trouble identifying the Gunman because the gunman shot himself in the back of the head ?????

It would be a bit awkward, and I doubt anybody would think of it on the spur of the moment, but if you did your homework and practiced the positioning beforehand, this would be a good way to maximize the odds of a successful suicide. Nobody’s coming back from profound brain stem trauma. (I suppose the prefered method of achieving this end is to put the barrel in one’s mouth, but the muzzle of a semi-auto can be rather bulky relative to a revolver, and simply might not fit in some mouths. Blech, what a lousy subject.)

Blacklake on April 16, 2007 at 6:50 PM

ABC Nightly news is shocked that more people aren’t for gun control when things like this happen and they would rather blame the was kids are raised and blah blah blah.

I mean don’t people realize that these guns are controlling the shooters?

- The Cat

P.S. I just now realized that the ketchup has been in my fridge too long.

MirCat on April 16, 2007 at 6:53 PM

No, Mr Simmons, You traded your life for those in the classroom across the hall. Even after hearing him open fire you still did nothing to try and help them. Damn right I am harsh but if it was your child in that classroom across the hall you might ask Mr Simmons the same question.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Is it possible that one heroic act by a student in that classroom could have ended the rampage? Perhaps.

However, I will NOT blame the victims for not going Rambo. And I will NOT imply that the victims have any responsibility at all for the deaths caused by the killer.

By this logic, it seems that it could just as easily be said that a student that escaped from the building when he heard the shooting start was ‘responsible’ for a death because, if he had been in the building, his body could have absorbed a bullet that ultimately killed another student instead.

Some, few people have it in them to be heroes. The rest of us, in a situation like this, will, at best, do what we need to do to survive. It’s easy to claim that some heroic act should have been undertaken from the safety of your home, another thing entirely to do something/anything when someone is going door to door killing people in your school. Please note that most of the people were too scared to do anything but hide under their desks.

JadeNYU on April 16, 2007 at 6:53 PM

Back from the store. Gun store was closed. Thank God for beer.

Believe me, after the shooting happened at my high school, I played in my head what to do in nearly every room I ever entered at college, assessing what I could barricade classrooms with, things I could use as weapons, escape routes and exits, I realize that sounds completely insane, but I’d do it without thinking about it.Bad Candy on April 16, 2007 at 6:21 PM

I don’t think that’s crazy at all. In fact, it might be the most practical thing anybody’s suggested.

Individually and collectively, we should just be more prepared for this stuff. I don’t care if this guy was John Rambo – he shouldn’t have been able to kill so many people. If more of them had at least planned ahead – even if they weren’t armed – things might have been very different.

Somebody up there mentioned military ambush drills. He was right – they drilled into our heads over and over that in the event of a far ambush, you drop and find cover and fight back. But if the ambushers are close, if it’s a “near ambush” … you stand up and run straight at the barrels, guns blazing, letting out your best war cry. It goes against every instinct you have, and that’s why it takes training to make it stick – but it works. It’s your only chance, really. Lay down in the kill zone and you might as well just shoot yourself.

Some people have commented that if enough students had just rushed the guy, they could have stopped it. It’s true. But it takes planning and training. Or at least thinking about it ahead of time, knowing what you’re going to do.

I think Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, and Jeremy Glick, et al, would understand that point.

Having a plan, thinking about this stuff ahead of time … that’s not crazy, it’s smart. Okay, you don’t want to become a paranoid agoraphobic, but nothing wrong with a little awareness of what’s going on around you.

Make sure you pass on that habit to your kids. It might save their lives someday. Other stuff, too, like: never get in a strangers car, no matter what. Or how to get out of your house if its on fire. Seems silly, I know, but just like most Marines would, on instinct, charge right into a near ambush because its been drilled into them, drilling that stuff into your head or your family’s head really might make a difference.

Of course, your kids will think you’re a complete dork. Oh, well.

Time for that beer. Stay safe, people. Even you Democrats.

Professor Blather on April 16, 2007 at 6:57 PM

Debbie Schlussel has an interesting update about the terrorist gunman’s apparent “military training”:

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/

Also ABC news tonight reported the Asian male was about 6 feet tall. Most East and and certainly Southeast Asians are not that tall.

It is bizarre the media refuses to give more description other than the gunman being “Asian.”

januarius on April 16, 2007 at 6:57 PM

Gregor,

It’s a big campus and the two shootings happened on opposite sides. We still don’t know where he lived or whether he walked or drove from one location to the other. But given that the campus wasn’t locked down he could easily have blended in with the thousands of other people walking around.

There was no police presence at Norris hall until after the shooting started.

John on April 16, 2007 at 6:58 PM

Watch how I tie what may seem to be two totally unrelated things together.
Remember Casey Sheehan? Maybe you’ve heard of his mom? Do you know the circumstances surrounding his death? He was a mechanic doing what mechanics do on that fateful day. Some of his brothers came under fire and without giving it a second thought or worrying about his own safefty he rounded up some other guys and charged to the action to help save his brothers in arms.
If we told more of these stories rather then stories of victims we could groom heroes instead of victims.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 6:58 PM

Pistols generally wound, not kill. At least not kill outright.

Just one of many misinformed comments made today regarding firearms and ammo. Pistols don’t wound or kill. They are mechanisms that are used to fire rounds of ammo. Basically, a round consists of a bullet (the projectile), a casing, some gunpowder and a primer. When the primer is compressed, it ignites the powder, which explodes and propels the bullet. The bullet is stupid. It has no clue what mechanism was used to compress the primer. Given the same casing and powder load, it makes no difference whether the primer was compressed by a pistol, a rifle or a masonry nail, although the last method is not generally recommended.

RedWinged Blackbird on April 16, 2007 at 7:01 PM

It’s just my feeling … but I thing this is another jihadi. The job is too professional for it to be just an ‘upset boyfriend’ gone psycho.

It’s obvious enough what’s in it for the jihad:
1. Get tighter gun-control laws passed, leaving the american people even more defenseless than they are already.
2. Show the jihadis that you’re just a bunch of sheep waiting to be slaughtered.

Wake up America. Wake up and fight.

Aylios on April 16, 2007 at 7:03 PM

RedWinged Blackbird on April 16, 2007 at 7:01 PM

This guy managed to do just fine with 9mm. And VT has a large Pakistani student body, BTW.

PRCalDude on April 16, 2007 at 7:04 PM

Two things I don’t want to hear from the endless analysis: That this was a tragedy. The Machine nailed it; it was an atrocity, pure and simple. The other is any phrase that includes a time for healing to begin, or some such.

Buck Turgidson on April 16, 2007 at 7:04 PM

I’m in CA. All my guns are registered. I’m screwed.

PRCalDude on April 16, 2007 at 7:05 PM

Unverified rumor:

http://www.xanga.com/wanusmaximus

That’s supposedly him.

Darth Executor on April 16, 2007 at 7:06 PM

bert169

I don’t think the casualty rate would be as high because he would be unable to move and the weapon he used is inaccurate at distances of more that 10 feet (Gun experts, feel free to correct me on that if I’m wrong. I’m just an amateur).

Any fool who’s never held a weapon before could hit you in the head from 10 feet. If you’re proficient with a weapon and it’s sighted in for you, you can be accurate much farther away than that.

januarius,

It is bizarre the media refuses to give more description other than the gunman being “Asian.”

Not if they don’t yet have a positive ID.

Pablo on April 16, 2007 at 7:06 PM

Oh good Greta is on the scene.

LakeRuins on April 16, 2007 at 7:07 PM

Also ABC news tonight reported the Asian male was about 6 feet tall. Most East and and certainly Southeast Asians are not that tall.

It is bizarre the media refuses to give more description other than the gunman being “Asian.”

januarius on April 16, 2007 at 6:57 PM

The tallest man in the world (alive) is a 7+ foot tall guy in China.

I worked with a Japanese kid (well, his parents were Japanese immigrants, he was born and raised in the US) that was 6’4″. He said that a lot of Japanese people that are descended from Samurai are actually very tall.

Anecdotes, yes, but, there are plenty of tall people from Asia…..Plus people of Asian descent that are raised in the US tend to be just as tall as their western counter parts.

JadeNYU on April 16, 2007 at 7:08 PM

Darth Executor on April 16, 2007 at 7:06 PM

Interesting. And highly possible.

PRCalDude on April 16, 2007 at 7:08 PM

Does anyone have names for the first two victims?

A trawl of their myspace pages might turn up the name of the shooter.

Kristopher on April 16, 2007 at 7:09 PM

Yes … the short Japanese stereotype was a product of poor nutrition in the first half of the twentieth century.

Modern Japanese kids tower over their parents.

Kristopher on April 16, 2007 at 7:10 PM

I dont think we should be going through these people’s personal webisites trying to draw out info. Too much risk of rumor spreading that could ruin someone’s life if wrong person

brak on April 16, 2007 at 7:12 PM

If the police would stop hiding info about a dead perp, the urge to dig would cease.

Kristopher on April 16, 2007 at 7:14 PM

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