There’s nothing else to say except that it’s been a sad day in Blacksburg:
At least 20 people were killed this morning at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University after a shooting spree at two buildings on the campus.
The unidentified shooter was among the dead, according to officials, who also said that several were injured in the shootings, at West Ambler Johnston, a dormitory, and Norris Hall, which houses the College of Engineering. Authorities said the first shooting was reported shortly after 7 a.m.
“We have a ballpark figure on fatalities,” Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum, said at a news conference broadcast by CNN. “It’s at least 20 fatalities.”
Flinchum said he did not know whether the shooter was a student. Some of those killed were in a classroom, he said.
“Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,” Virginia Tech president Charles Steger said at a news conference. “The university is shocked and indeed horrified that this would befall us.”
The campus, about four hours southwest of Washington, was shutdown.
More news to come, I’m sure, and most of it won’t be good.
Update @ 1:25pm: A timeline from the Virginia Tech student newspaper (link points to a temporary page because the paper’s server is down).
Fellow Virginia blogger GOPHokie is a student at Virginia Tech and is blogging about today’s events from down there.
Update @ 2:25pm Reports of 29 dead and 17 wounded from ABC News, along with this eyewitness account:
Engineering student Josh Wargo, a junior at Virginia Tech, said he was sitting in class when they began to hear “loud banging noises” followed by screaming. He said many students panicked. Some began to jump out of a window two stories above ground level.
“We heard almost 40 or 50 shots,” Wargo told ABC News. “They were going on from the time we heard them and jumped out the window until almost two minutes later.”
“When I landed, I was in a daze, standing outside of the building,” Wargo said. “Then I heard shots going through glass ? that’s when it hit me that I had to get out of there.
“One of my friends called me to make sure that everyone is OK, I’m told that they’re in stable condition, but some of them got shot,” Wargo said. “They told me my prof was shot in the face and didn’t make it but were not sure.
More to come, I’m sure.
I have to wonder how anyone managed the level of freedom to commit at least 30+ murders before being stopped.
This will change the face of college campuses for some time to come.
Update @4:00pm: It is, some would say, ironic that this article appeared in the Roanoke Star less than one week ago:
A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.
House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.
The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”
Apparently, Virginia Tech, like other colleges in Virginia has a policy prohibiting people with concealed carry permits from bringing their guns on campus. Would it have made a difference here ? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.
Update 4:30pm: Via Drudge comes a news (no link yet) that is disturbing to say the least:
Virginia Tech students and an employee say the first e-mail warning they got from the university about the shooting rampage came more than two hours after the first shots were fired by which time the gunman had struck again… Developing..
The response of university of officials to this morning’s events is going to become a big issue.
And from Greg L at Black Velvet Bruce Li, indications that the death toll may reach as high as 40 and that this may have all been over a girl:
To the best of my understanding (from first-hand accounts) this all started with an ex-boyfriend finding his girlfriend in bed with another guy. He then shot them, killing the guy immediately and the girl died at RMH. The shooter then went to Norris hall and entered a classroom opening fire.
The above is from a posting on the Va Tech student messag board that Greg quotes at length on his site.
Tags: Virginia Tech