Open Thread for VT Shootings [Updated]

With everything that’s happened today, I’m opening up this thread for all discussion of the VT Shootings. I’m still trying to dig up more news, so far the best updating source is College Media dot com which has a chronological update starting first thing this morning and moving forward to the present.

I’ve tried calling down to Blacksburg to a couple of the folks I know in the STS department down there, with no luck whatsoever. All calls are routing right to voicemail, and sparse email contact has been made with the main campus. Feel free to use this space to talk about the shooting, connect with folks you know in Blacksburg.

Update, 2:17pm, via College Media: “As of now, 32 people are confirmed dead. One person from West Ambler Johnston Hall and at least 20 people from Norris Hall have been killed. The shooter as well has been killed, but it is uncertain as to whether it is a student or not. ”

Update, 2:38pm, via Fox News: “deadliest school shooting in US History.” I have now heard two reports that the shooter was an Asian man, but I have not seen that confirmed yet. Details are getting sketchier again. I’ve also had my first email returned from the main campus. Several of the faculty who serve as EMTs are reporting that the police coming out of the scene are very shaken and are undergoing some counseling onsite.

Update, 2:46pm, via 8Asians: Shooter Reportedly of Asian Descent, and walked into the building wearing a vest with an “ungodly” amount of ammunition, firing at will with a bulletproof vest and a large amount of ammunition. We’re still short some details on the American networks at this point. This is now the single deadliest shooting incident in US History.

Update, 3:06pm, via VT’s National Capitol Region office: All classes at DC Area Virginia Tech campuses have been cancelled for today.

Update, 3:32pm, via a Hokie Message Board: Shooter may have been a scorned lover. Rumors are, of course, only rumors. This one reads plausibly. There’s an open VT message board going on. Email service is still sporadic at best, and the facilities in the DC area have been locked down as a precaution. No word on when email access will be restored.

Update, 3:50p, via BBC News: First Person Account from a student inside Norris Hall when the shootings occured. Apparently between 80-100 rounds were fired. Jesus. Please note well that VT is a Gun Free Zone. Also, near as I can tell, there was a brief lockdown after the first shooting, but that lockdown was opened back up before there was anyone in custody, leading to the senseless deaths of at least 30 students and numerous more serious injuries.

Update, 4:10p, via Pajamas Media: Cellphone Video from Norris Hall and VT Campus. This is absolutely horrific.

Update, 4:40p, via Planet Blacksburg: The shooter was found in the basement of Norris Hall. This suggests the shooter took his own life at the end of the killing spree, not that he was killed by police.

Update, 4:45p, via CNN Newsfeed: Virginia is now in a State of Emergency, as ordered by Governor Kaine, who is on his way home from Tokyo. 33 dead. 15 more critically injured. A list of dead may be released as soon as tomorrow. The shooter in Norris Hall had no identification on his person, and has yet to be identified. “Why didn’t you shut down the campus at the first shooting?” “We concluded the first shooting was a domestic shooting, and we had reason to believe the shooter was leaving the state.” Police at this time have not connected the first shooting to the second.

Are the bomb threats from Friday related to this incident? “We’re looking into it… it’s a possibility we’re looking into.”

They are confirming the Norris Hall shooter took his own life.

Incident 1 in WAJ is considered potentially a domestic incident. There is no breakdown of faculty/staff deaths yet. There were chains on the door, but they’re not clear yet how many were chained. There were multiple locations inside Norris Hall with fatalities, they’re considering it one giant crime scene.

Update: 5:10pm, CNN: Still watching the coverage at Blacksburg, the questions are starting to repeat themselves, and VT’s President and Chief of Police are basically out of new ways to say, “We don’t know yet.” and “We’re not sure when we’ll know more yet.”

Update, 5:15pm, Kotaku: Jack Thompson is blaming videogames. Pardon my french, but STFU, Jack. Not even 12 hours have past and you’re spewing your self-interested line on Fox News? Jesus.

Update, 5:38pm, Planet Blacksburg: Eyewitness accounts are now coming in. The Post is also watching blogs for first person accounts.

36 Comments so far

  1. Stacey (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

    i have a bunch of people down there that we’ve nto heard from yet that are friends of friends, or friends, etc. some have been reached, but a friend finally just got a hold of his cousin who said that the phone lines (even personal lines) are down or not working great b/c there is so much calling in and out of the area that his network was down for some time.

  2. Tiffany (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

    CNN was reporting that all faculty and staff have been sent home, so I imagine there’s no one there to answer the phones anyway.

  3. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

    Portland OR is sending good thoughts your way. Our Metroblog just linked this post. I hope if you have friends there that they are all ok.

  4. :: jozjozjoz :: (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

    The phone lines at VT are jammed, but students in the dorms do have internet access. MSNBC (TV) had also reported the gunman to be of Asian descent.

  5. Ashley (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

    Hi my name is Ashley and I am a senior at VT. I am friends with Joz(jozjoz). I live on campus and have been in lockdown in my dorm all morning. This is incredibly tragic, I cant believe its really happening outside my building. Phones are NOT working very well – they are overloaded and landlines and cells are both not working.

    I’ve been watching foxnews to keep up with current events and to see if we are allowed to leave or not. They havent released any names of injured/dead or the suspect. It’s just all really scary!

  6. Erica (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 3:12 pm is posting live updates as well.

  7. Jay (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    Our thoughts are with you from Montreal. I wish the world would come back to normal someday. Nobody should have to go through this sort of thing, ever.

  8. Gina (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

    Here in Orange County, our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones.

  9. Bémol (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

    Was redirected here from Metroblog Montreal by Jay. Our thoughts are with you from Montréal and Ottawa. I got chills when I heard it on the news today and thought it was like that day in September at Dawson all over again.

    My thoughts just go out to everyone. This is something nobody should have to go through.

  10. cd (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

    per your comment about video game violence: the first comment to post to the SF Chronicle’s blog post about the incident was a “don’t start calling for gun control!” rant.

    man, wouldn’t it be great if *everyone* could focus on what happened, rather than gleefully reaching for their favorite soapbox. everything that happened at VT today owes to so much more than video games or gun control or any other “issue” pundits will use to fill the hours of unknown-details they’re trying to fill.

    Over 33 people. Jesus, some perspective would be great.

    My prayers are with VT.

  11. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

    I wish everyone who was there, or had friends or family at VT, all the best. I don’t know what else to say.

  12. Jamash [MetroBlogging Karachi] (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

    We have been following this news on CNN here in Karachi, It’s really heartbreaking to see a loss of so many innocent lives. Our prayers are with you.

  13. Evan Walsh (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

    Stupid Jack Thompson.

  14. Iain Murphy (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

    From the teachers of Cleeland SC Australia, our hearts go out to everyone at Virginia Tech and the community. This is a tragedy and shouldn’t be allowed to be politcised while people are still coming to terms with their grief.

  15. Hafiz (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

    I have friends there and I hope they are alright. Just sent an email or two to them.

  16. anon (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

    some people are suggesting this guy is the culprit. can anyone confirm?

  17. Mike Browne (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

    Not him. He just posted on his live journal:

  18. Bob (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

    From the 3:50 update: “Please note well that VT is a Gun Free Zone.”

    Imagine that, a gun free zone didn’t deter a criminal (or insane person, or whatever). Instead it removed the ability of innocent individuals to possibly defend themselves.

    Agreed, Jack Thompson needs to STFU!

  19. david appasamy (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 12:25 am

    Our hearts go out to all of you at this time. Whatever could possess someone to take innocent lives like this without feeling. This is just to let you know you are in our thoughts and we will be praying for all of you.

  20. MF (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 5:08 am

    Please delete the comment by Haziz, since that guy clearly is not the “culprit”.

  21. Bill (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 5:21 am

    The Japanese media has also been covering this event by interviewing exchange students:

  22. Michelle (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

    My heart is with all of you. I can not even begin to imagine the horror all involved have suffered, and are still suffering through this horrific ordeal. My love and prayers are with you all.

  23. Mik (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

    The sense of Hokie community I’ve been feeling here in D.C. is really warming the cockles of my heart (and I mean that with the utmost sincerity). I’ve seen friends reach out to each other through the community, even Tech plate isn’t just a reminder of the team that taught me about American football; it’s a reminder of the loss the Hokie community is mourning and all that may entail.

    I saw a guy wearing a Hokie t-shirt on the towpath today and made sure to make eye contact with him and say hello.

  24. MW (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 6:00 pm

    My heart goes out to all those who were involved in the shootings…. all we can do is pray and ask God to forgive him for what he did. To the families, I know this is a trying time… but hold your head up and think positvie thoughts of your loved ones… My heart and condolences goes out to each and everyone of you. This tragic event has brought us all together as one. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

  25. Stacey (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

    Hey I’m Stacey from Greensboro, NC and I want all of ya at vtech to know that my heart is with ya. Nothing like this shouldn’t happen to anybody!! I’ve been thinking about everyone there all day and I’ll continue to do so. love ya all. God Bless VT!!

  26. Ed (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 9:49 am

    Just a comment on an early warning system in schools.
    Sirens like the ones used all over the world to warn students of certain types of situations according to varying tones etc.

  27. E. (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    my heart goes out to all the people mounring all can say is that God had a plan for this
    romans 8:28 reads
    “for all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to his purpose

  28. island (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

    I want to get this message out:

    Federal law prohibits those who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions from buying handguns.

    CNN says that Cho Seung-Hui had been committed under temporary detention order.


    “Cho was described as “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self, and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment.”

    Someone needs to look into this.

  29. Theo (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

    I was interested in learning more about gun laws and I was astonished on how lax VA’s laws are:
    1) Requirement for a license or permit to own a gun – NO!
    2) Background checks required for “private” gun sales – NO!
    3) Are there limitations on assault weapons or magazines – NO!
    4) Must guns be ballistic finger printed prior to sale – No (Police cannot trace ammo to gun owner)
    5) Are background checks required at Gun Shows – NO!
    6) Is there a waiting period for gun sales – NO!

    There has got to be accountability for selling and purchasing guns in the State of VA as well as all states. Here are a few suggested changes that should be considered:
    A)Anyone purchasing a gun must past a safety test prior to purchasing a gun. This test is administered by the gun shop and w/ an authorized professional which can prevent the sale of the gun if he/she deems necessary.
    B) 30 day waiting period after passing test. This allows a more thorough background check from not only police records but also mentally ill patient records.
    C) Every 2 years gun owners must bring their gun in for a check up and retake the safety test.

    Ask yourself:
    1) In order to drive a car do you have to pass a drivers test?
    2) Do you have to perform an emission’s test every two years for your car?
    3)To sell someone else’s house, I must have a real estate license. Every two years I have to get retested before I can continue selling houses.
    4) In order to be certified to give CPR, you have to take a test and become re-certified every few years.

    I can buy a gun without any training or permit. I can buy as much ammo as I want w/o anyone asking a question and can sell it to another individual without anyone knowing. Something doesn’t fit here…does it?

  30. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 4:38 pm


    – Ballistics Fingerprinting won’t help if the owner changes the firing pin.
    – Judging from reports, the shooter was using regular magazines for both pistols
    – In this case, the shooter bought his guns from legal dealers, not from a gun show.
    – A Safety Test wouldn’t have stopped this shooting.
    – As he’d only held the gun for 30 days, another test in 2 years wouldn’t have helped.
    – Nor would a 30 day waiting period.

    You’re using this atrocity to justify your personal views and that’s a travesty.

  31. James G. (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

    We allow these events to happen and continue because many think the Constitution is a Bible.
    …and the “right to bear arms” is a commandment.
    That was written in a time when we were under the imperial threat of a European superpower, had ‘hostile natives’ at the frontiers, and had to hunt to survive and eat. We are no longer under threat from the redcoats, the native americans, and supermarkets can be found everywhere. Dont regulate, dont restrict, just end gun sales.

  32. Don (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

    Ballistic fingerprinting is done based on lans and grooves, which are a function of the barrel, not the firing pin. True, in many non-revolver pistols this can be swapped out – my Sig P220, for example , can easily take a different barrel – but replacement barrels could be ‘printed’ too. However I think the ‘fingerprinting’ is of somewhat limited utility. It’s only useful as an after-the-fact measure to try to track someone down, and even then is pretty questionable.

    I purchased my firearm used almost a decade ago. It was a consignment piece at a local range and had been a service weapon for an FBI agent. I’ve lived in 4 different domiciles since then across two states. Were the authorities to need to come after me based on that ‘fingerprint’ where would they look? We’d need not only to ‘print’ weapons but to require a selective-service type of system where people list and update their addresses when they move. Since the constitution guarantees them the right to move from state to state freely it would have to be a federal database.

    I happen to marginally left of center – overall – at the political table, but I’m not real thrilled with the idea of a national database of names and addresses of gun owners. This also would make the theft or sale of any weapon a matter of federal interest, a big and expensive pain in the ass.

    Now, on the matter of a competency class before someone can be a firearm owner? I’m 100% in favor of basic certification, though I don’t much see the point in making it something that people have to update periodically. Nor do I see the point in requiring a gun ‘check,’ since a poorly maintained firearm primarily is prone just to jam and injure the shooter. If people want to be that stupid, let em. You aren’t required to get the periodic oil changes on your car if you’re happy to have a seized engine, so if you want to blow your own finger off or be unable to fire that weapon when you need to, well, that’s your lookout.

  33. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

    Is that really the solution, James? I’m not sure it is. There are too many robberies, too many home invasions, too many situations in which someone might want a gun to equalize the power imbalance.

  34. KATHY COLEMAN (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

    as an alumni, and my father ,(passed), i would like to extend my deepest sympothy to the family, and friends of the executed.

  35. Jim (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

    I was offended when Diane Sawyer asked the Virginia Tech president if he would resign….at 7 am the morning after the shooting. At that time, they didn’t know the killer’s name for sure, the didn’t know if there were multiple killers, and the president had obviously been up most of the night dealing with the situation. I think Virginia Tech did the best job they could have in a terrible situaton. I feel sorry not only for those killed and their families, but for the entire Virginia Tech community, their alumni, and the other students. They are a wonderful university, and didn’t deserve this situation. I have been on about 20 college campuses in my life, and their campus and it as wonderful, and as secure, as any other campus I have been to. Personally, I think that Diane Sawyer should resign before the president of Virginia Tech should resign, based on her totally inappropriate question. This entire incident points mainly to the shock sensationalism that our naitonal media focuses on.

    5:55 PM

    Reporters are all slamming the VA Tech University President (Steger) for not locking down the campus and canceling classes yesterday. But today, when he stepped on the stage to speak, the overwhelming, thunderous applause spoke louder than Diane Sawyer’s negative, leading questions. :) And I’m relieved to know it. This event was not his fault. The blame lies in a disturbed man. That’s it.
    posted by Sugarplum at 11:30 AM on Apr 17, 2007

  36. friend (unregistered) on April 20th, 2007 @ 12:55 am

    I found an article by a blogger in NYC about the VT shootings that brought me to tears…

    I can only repeat the author’s sentiments…

    “I’m so sorry.”

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