Shooting at Virginia Tech / Statement by President Charles W. Steger
By Larry Hincker
BLACKSBURG, Va., April 16, 2007
The university was struck today with a tragedy of monumental proportions. There were two shootings on campus. In each case, there were fatalities. The university is shocked and horrified that this would befall our campus. I want to extend my deepest, sincerest and most profound sympathies to the families of these victims which include students There are 22 confirmed deaths.
We currently are in the process of notifying families of victims. The Virginia Tech Police are being assisted by numerous other jurisdictions. Crime scenes are being investigated by the FBI, University Police, and State Police. We continue to work to identify the victims impacted by this tragedy. I cannot begin to covey my own personal sense of loss over this senselessness of such an incomprehensible and heinous act The university will immediately set up counseling centers. So far centers have been identified in Ambler Johnston and the Cook Counseling Center to work with our campus community and families.
Here are some of the facts we know:
At about 7:15 a.m. this morning a 911 call came to the University Police Department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about two hours later the university received reports of a shooting in Norris Hall. The police immediately responded. Victims have been transported to various hospitals in the immediate area in the region to receive emergency treatment.
We will proceed to contact the families of victims as identities are available.
All classes are cancelled and the university is closed for the remainder of today. The university will open Tuesday at 8 a.m. but classes are cancelled. The police are currently staging the release of people from campus buildings.
Families wishing to reunite with the students are suggested to meet at the Inn at Virginia Tech. We are making plans for a convocation tomorrow (Tuesday) 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.
Faculty and staff on the Burruss side of the Drillfield are being released and asked to go home effective immediately. Faculty and staff on the War Memorial side are asked to leave at 12:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech has closed today Monday, April 16, 2007. On Tuesday, April 17, classes will be canceled. The university will remain open for administrative operations.
There will be an additional university statement presented today at noon.
All students, faculty, and staff are required to stay where they are until police execute a planned evacuation. A phased closing will be in effect today; further information will be forthcoming as soon as police secure the campus.
Tomorrow, there will be a university convocation/ceremony at noon at Cassell Coliseum. The Inn at Virginia Tech has been designated as the site for parents to gather and obtain information.
In addition to an earlier shooting today in West Ambler Johnston, there has been a multiple shooting with multiple victims in Norris Hall.
Police and EMS are on the scene.
Police have one shooter in custody and as part of routine police procedure, they continue to search for a second shooter.
All people in university buildings are required to stay inside until further notice.
All entrances to campus are closed.
Subject: Shooting on Campus
A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.
The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case. Contact Virginia Tech Police at 231-6411
Stay attuned to the www.vt.edu. We will post as soon as we have more information.
Subject: PLease stay put
A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows
Subject: All Classes Cancelled; Stay where you are
Virginia Tech has canceled all classes. Those on campus are asked to remain where there are, lock their doors and stay away from windows. Persons off campus are asked not to come to campus.
One man was hanging out the window of a Norris Hall classroom when the gunman entered, according to freshman Douglas Cobb.
Cobb said that Jake Grohs, the resident assistant for the fourth floor of Peddrew-Yates residence hall, told him he climbed out the window of an engineering class as the gunman apparently made his way from room to room in Norris.
"He was in the room next door to the shooting" and decided to try climbing out the second-story window, Cobb said. "He was hanging out the window when the person came in" and heard people being shot, Cobb said. He said that four of six people who were in the room at that time where shot.
Grohs jumped out the window onto a hill and is OK, Cobb said.
Cobb and other friends showed up at the Inn at Virginia Tech this afternoon to try to get information about a missing friend.
The mass media are reporting Norris Hall as an "Engineering Building." This is not the case. Engineering does have offices and classes in Norris Hall, but it also houses classes for various other departments from Political Science to Business.
High winds have grounded helicopters from Duke, UVA, and Richmond. While this has made the transport of victims more difficult, it has not denied EMTs access to life-saving equipment. Ambulances have served to supply necessary equipment without incident.
The shooting is being reported as the most lethal school massacre in US history. This is incorrect. This is the most lethal school shooting in US history; but the 1927 Bath School Disaster was a bombing which killed 45 people and injured 58. This is not to detract from the horrific magnitude of today's shooting but simply to maintain historical accuracy.
Virginia Tech student Blake Harrison said he was on his way to class near Norris Hall when he saw chaos.
"This teacher comes flying out of Norris, he's bleeding from his arm or his shoulder ... all these students were coming out of Norris trying to take shelter in Randolph [Hall]. All these kids were freaked out," Harrison said.
The students and faculty were barricading themselves in their classrooms after what one person described as an Asian male wearing a vest opened fire.
The shooter was "wearing a vest covered in clips was just unloading on their door, going from classroom to classroom … they said it never seemed like it was going to stop and there was just blood all over," Harrison said.
The identification of the gunman was proving difficult because the suspected shooter did not have identification among his effects and was further complicated because of the severity of an apparently self-inflicted wound to the head, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Two shootings on campus today have left 33 dead. Thirty-one, including the gunman, died at Norris Hall; two died at West Ambler Johnston Hall. Fifteen other victims from Norris are being treated at area hospitals....
Jack Thompson is on the scene
bicyclefish: Maybe we'd be better off as a species if we had an instant connection to suffering that we don't understand so well. Almost certainly, in fact. But we don't.
When an incident or emergency occurs, authorized DC Emergency Management personnel can rapidly notify you using this community alert system. Alert DC is your personal connection to real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to contact and other important information.
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.
Two hours later he rampaged through an engineering building on the other side of the campus in the town of Blacksburg, killing indiscriminately.
A buyer who is not a citizen of the United States must have lawful alien status and must establish that he or she is a resident of a state by providing a valid photo identification and documentation such as a utility bill or lease agreement which would establish that he or she has resided in the state for at least 90 days prior to the date of the sale.
- Where are you from?
- I'm from [American City].
- No, where are you originally from?"
"Sources have now described the note, which runs several pages, as beginning in the present tense and then shifting to the past tense. It contains rhetoric explaining Cho's actions and says, 'You caused me to do this,' the sources told ABC News.
Sources say Cho, 23, killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left the note..."
'College classrooms have scads of young men who are at their physical peak, and none of them seems to have done anything beyond ducking, running, and holding doors shut. Meanwhile, an old man hurled his body at the shooter to save others.
Something is clearly wrong with the men in our culture. Among the first rules of manliness are fighting bad guys and protecting others: in a word, courage. And not a one of the healthy young fellows in the classrooms seems to have done that. …
Like Derb, I don’t know if I would live up to this myself, but I know that I should be heartily ashamed of myself if I didn’t. Am I noble, courageous and self-sacrificing? I don’t know; but I should hope to be so when necessary.'"*
Students of Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics lecturer in at Virginia Tech for 20 years, sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said the son, Joe.
"A spokeswoman made quite clear also that 'news' reports that the parents of Cho Seung-Hui had committed suicide were erroneous and untrue." *
"A Virginia Tech spokeswoman who appeared at the news conference denied that Cho's parents, who live in Virginia, had committed suicide.
She said some media had erroneously reported that the couple, who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s, had killed themselves.
She emphasized that both are very much alive.
She would not disclose where Cho's parents are currently staying." *
"Guess what? They do. From ABC News, regarding the VA Tech shooter:'Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.'We don't even have a list of gun owners, and we have a list of everyone who has been prescribed anti-depressants? And in fact, the article suggests that this isn't just a database of patients who use anti-depressants, it's a federal database of every prescription drug you've ever bought.
What exactly do the Bushies do with that list? And what other lists do they have of which medications you've ever taken?"
'Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.'
"Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a long and rambling communication and video about his grievances, the network said Wednesday. Network officials turned the material over to the FBI and said they would not immediately disclose its contents pending the agency’s review.
The communication is the last known red flag raised by Cho..."
"The fact that Cho Seung-Hui, the 23-year-old senior who allegedly killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech on Monday, was mentally troubled sheds harsh new light on a sad truth: For many students, the college years are far from the best years of their lives.
Depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health problems are increasingly common among college and university students in the United States. Consider:About 10 percent of students have seriously considered committing suicide.
Forty-five percent of students say they've been so depressed it was difficult to function.
More than 30 percent of freshmen report feeling overwhelmed a great deal of the time."
About 10 percent of students have seriously considered committing suicide.
Forty-five percent of students say they've been so depressed it was difficult to function.
More than 30 percent of freshmen report feeling overwhelmed a great deal of the time."
Investigators told Haugh, 18, that her roommate had been shot. They began asking about Hilscher's romances. Haugh told them what she knew: Her roommate had spent the weekend on another college campus with her boyfriend, Karl Thornhill. (LA Times)
The police asked about guns; Haugh told them Thornhill had recently taken both girls to a shooting range for fun. She told police she believed he kept the weapons at his home in Blacksburg, Va. (LA Times)
Though Haugh described her roommate as having "a perfect relationship with her boyfriend," investigators suspected the shooting was prompted by a lovers' quarrel. They relayed their theory to university administrators at an 8:25 a.m. meeting. By then, classes were already under way, and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger saw no need to cancel them. "We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," he said.
"The first call came into campus police at 7:15 that morning. A female resident assistant on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston Hall, a short walk from where Cho lived. She said there had been a shooting. She had heard screams, then more screams, then a pop, pop, and went down the hall to discover two bodies, a male and female, near Room 4040 in what was known as the 'elevator' section, an area in the middle of the dorm between the men's side and the women's side.
Police later identified the female as Emily Hilscher, a freshman from Woodville, Va. The male was one of the dorm's resident assistants, Ryan Clark, from Georgia. The officers began interviewing other students. Aside from the resident assistant, most had not heard or seen anything, even though there was a trail of bloody footprints down the hallway.
...Investigators, in their initial interviews with those who knew Hilscher, learned about her boyfriend, a student at nearby Radford University. Maybe it was a domestic incident, they concluded. Most are. Some officers were dispatched to go find the boyfriend, Karl D. Thornhill, operating under the assumption that they had the problem contained.."
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there (love be there)
Oh, heaven let your light shine down." *
That guy needed to get laid.
At Oregon's Lewis & Clark College, another student was detained by campus police Wednesday shortly before a vigil for the Virginia Tech victims when he was spotted wearing an ammunition belt. Portland police later determined that it was "a fashion accessory" made of spent ammunition, and said the man did not have a weapon. The belt was confiscated.
According to a source at American Idol, the Cho Seung-Hui video featured two performances. In the first Mr. Cho, who went by the stage name "Ismail-Ax," sang a karaoke version of the Village People's "YMCA." For an encore he donned an ammo vest and waved two automatic weapons in the air as he sang, "Give me a word, give me a sign" from Collective Soul's "Shine."
"We figured he was a borderline psycho or else he had a hyper-developed sense of irony," said the source. "Either way he would have been perfect for our show."
Seung-hui Cho's father pressed pants six days a week at a dry cleaner in Manassas, Va., west of Washington. Cho's mother worked at another Korean-run dry-cleaning business in nearby Haymarket.
She pressed men's suit jackets from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week, a small woman maneuvering between hisses of steam and lines of hanging laundry.
"I knew life was hard for her," said Susana Yang, owner of the dry cleaner. "Her health was not good, and her husband suffered from a back problem."
The plain spoken octogenarian, who managed a motel until her late 1970s, is relieved that rumors of suicide by Seung-Hui's parents proved false. All the same, she doesn't think it would be advisable for the family, who have maintained their Korean citizenship, to return to their native land in the wake of this horrible tragedy. "It would it would be too difficult for them if they returned here as this is a small country and Koreans are very gossipy," she says matter of factly. "We wouldn't let them return and would even try and block them if they tried."
In the end, Oldboy bears no more responsibility for the Virginia Tech shootings than American Idol, but it's fortunate that it has come up. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter a few years ago, Oldboy's director Park said, "My films are the stories of people who place the blame for their actions on others because they refuse to take on the blame themselves." And that's one of the smartest things that anyone's said so far about the motives of Cho Seung-Hui.
She said the FBI asked her to describe Cho in three words.
" 'Dorky,' was one of them, maybe 'timid' and 'pushy' - there, at the end, he was a little pushy," she said.
Now she wishes she'd done more to reach out to Cho.
"Sometimes I wonder if I could have said something or done something differently," she said.
"But I wasn't thinking about that at the time. I was thinking, he was creeping me out. I was thinking about getting out of there."
He played video games, but students from the gaming club never met him. He came from a Christian family, but the campus ministers don't remember him. He knew something about video editing, but the regulars at the student television station had not heard of him. Grewal never heard his voice, didn't know what classes he took. Those in the suite next door, he said, never knew of Cho until April 16.
"They were like, 'That guy lived here?' " Grewal recalled.
Others, though, said they tried to be friends with Cho.
Charlotte Peterson, a former Virginia Tech student, said she shared a British literature class with Cho in fall 2005. She regarded him as a loner but had spoken to him during class. At some point during the semester, she said, "he friended me" on Facebook, meaning that he invited her to his Web page as a participant. His name on Facebook was "?" -- a way Cho often identified himself.
But two weeks later, a friend of Peterson's gave her a warning: Stay away from him. The friend told Peterson that Cho had bothered her and that she had gone to police. Peterson deleted herself from Cho's page.
« Older Save Top Gear!... | L'inventaire Fantôme... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt