A total of 33 people, including the gunman, were killed in a
shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, university president Charles
Steger said at a press conference on Monday. The massacre stands as
the worst mass shooting ever seen in the United States.
"It is now confirmed that we have 31 deaths from Norris Hall,
including the gunman .... There are two confirmed deaths from the
shooting in Ambler Johnston Dormitory," Steger said at a news
conference. He added that the gunman had not yet been identified
since he had been carrying no ID. 29 other injuries were also
reported as a result of the shooting.
In a White House statement, President Bush spoke of his shock
and sadness for the shooting, and pledged a full investigation into
"Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning.
When that sanctuary is violated the impact is felt in every
American classroom and every American community," Bush said. "Today
our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia
White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino spoke Bush being
"horrified" by the shooting.
"He was horrified and his immediate reaction was one of deep
concern for the families of the victims, the victims themselves,
the students, the professors and all the people of Virginia who
have dealt with this shocking incident," Perino said in a
statement. "His thoughts and prayers are with them."
The White House chose to stand behind the 2nd
Amendment, which gives US citizens the right to bear arms, and has
been a contentious issue. "The president believes that there is a
right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed,"
the statement added.
It was not know whether any international students were among
the dead or injured, with US media reporting that half of the
college’s 2000 international students come from India and
Any motives for the shooting are so far unclear. It is even
unknown whether the gunman was a student.
University police chief Wendell Flinchum revealed that the
gunman opened fire in a dormitory and classroom over a two-hour
"The university was struck today with a tragedy of monumental
proportions. There were two shootings on campus. In each case,
there were fatalities," Steger said in a statement posted on the
official website of Virginia Tech. "The university is shocked and
horrified that this would befall our campus."
The university, situated in Blacksburg, southwest Virginia, is
closed for now with all faculty and staff members ordered to return
In lieu of being able to identify the gunman, the finger of
blame is being pointed at the slow reaction of police who were
unable to apprehend the shooter in the two hours following his
first double murder in the Ambler Johnston dormitory. During this
time, he made his way to Norris Hall where he shot a further 30
Previously, the deadliest campus shooting in the country took
place in 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin, in which 17
people, including the gunman, were killed.
(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2007)