Several sources on Virginia Tech's main campus are reporting possible shootings on Virginia Tech's main campus. Emergency crews including fire, ambulance, and police are on the scene. This page will be updated as new information is made available.
Update 1 - Initial Response
Emergency response began at AJ (West Ambler Johnston), one of Virginia Tech's dormitories and has now spread to the front of McBride hall. The Virginia Tech community is now under lock-down, including this office. There is, as yet, no indication that this is related to the string of bomb threats Tech has received throughout the last week.
Update 2 - First Official Statements
Virginia Tech has confirmed that "A shooting incident occurred at West Ambler Johnston earlier this morning." Police response has been swift and students on-site report a heavy police presence including officers armed with assault rifles. Students and faculty are urged to stay indoors and away from windows.
Update 3 - Tech's Response
Virginia Tech has canceled all classes for the day.
Gunman on campus; all classes canceled; stay where you are; do not come to campus.
Virginia Tech has canceled all classes. Those on campus are asked to remain where there are, lock their doors and stay away from window. Persons off campus are asked not to come to campus.
Update 4 - Second Shooting
Reports indicate a second shooting and potentially multiple victims. These reports are unconfirmed as of yet.
Update 5 - Second Shooting Confirmed
A News 7 photographer on the scene has also reported seeing at least one person injured and coming out of another building on campus.
Rumors have circulated that a professor may have also been hit. No information is available as to the veracity of this statement or the severity of any wounds suffered.
Update 6 - Fatality Confirmed, Ambulances Sited
AP Reports one fatality thus-far and another wounded. No resolution to the case has yet been reported.
Other sources indicate that there are now seven ambulances at the Virginia Tech Drill Field (central campus), though if this is in anticipation or response remains to be seen.
Update 7 - Shooter Contained
Rumors indicate that the shooter is now confined to a single building (Norris Hall) and that the wounded individual mentioned above was indeed a professor at the University shot in his arm. Tech has apparently canceled a press conference scheduled for 11.
Update 8 - Chaos In Norris Hall
Shooter is apparently not alone in Norris. Reports are coming in of students/faculty attempting to flee the building through windows.
Update 9 - Student Reports From Norris and AJ
Another shooting is being reported at Norris hall bringing the total to three potential victims. Students report that the victim in West AJ was female and (possibly) a Residential Adviser.
Update 10 - Individual In Custody
WSLS Reports that police have one individual in custody while a hunt continues for a second suspect. A news conference is scheduled for noon.
Update 11 - First Casualties Removed From Scene
An ambulance has just pulled away from War Memorial Chapel (see above map).
Update 12 - Casualties Estimate, Rumors of a Drug Raid
Reports from students on campus indicate that a drug raid may have been in progress in AJ when the first shootings occurred. 7 to 8 casualties (not deaths) are now being reported.
Update 13 - Police Response at Pritchard
From the Roanoke Times (emphasis mine):
At Pritchard Hall, a dormitory near one of the shooting sites, students were being pulled into the buildings and told to stay away from windows and off the phone.
Pritchard is across the quad from AJ. See the map above for details.
Update 14 - Classes Canceled
From the Virginia Tech website:
On Tuesday, April 17, classes will be canceled. The university will remain open for administrative operations.
Update 15 - FBI On Campus, Hospital Activates Disaster Plan
WSLS reports that there is now an FBI presence on campus. The Montgomery County Hospital is no longer accepting patients from the general public and is limiting its new admittance strictly to students. Reporters have been asked to evacuate the campus.
Update 16 - K9 Units Called
Scanner traffic indicates that on-site officers are calling for all K-9 units in a multi-county area. Virginia Tech may be evacuating the campus though this report remains unconfirmed. Bomb threats throughout the week suggest that officers may fear some greater threat to the student body. This is unconfirmed and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Police Scanner: Campus Evacuation Underway
Update 17 - Hospital Update
Seventeen Students are now being treated at Montgomery Regional Hospital for gunshot wounds and injuries due to falling. MRH has enacted its "disaster plan" to deal with the influx of patients.
Update 18 - News Conference Complications
High winds from the North-Easter which is dominating East Coast weather is preventing media outlets from getting an uplink from the news conference.
According to WSLS, students report that some students that are not "near the scene," including McBryde Hall are apparently being "let go" and allowed to go home.
Update 19 - ROTC Mobilized
Among others, Major Williams Hall is now evacuating its faculty and staff under orders. Live reports indicate that the Virginia Tech's ROTC has been mobilized. Students are not being evacuated at this time.
Update 20 - Derick O'Dell
Derick O'Dell, a cave spring HS graduate, was shot in the arm. He is the first victim to make media contact. O'Dell is in Montgomery Regional Hospital and was shot in Norris Hall.
Update 21 - "Two to 12 Arrests"
Wayne Pike, U.S. marshal for the Western District of Virginia, said he sent four deputy marshals to Tech to help however they could.
Pike said he has heard so far about one male suspect in the shootings. "The info we got is there is one person that is out of commission -- under arrest or otherwise -- and they are searching for other possibilities now," Pike said.
Pike said there is a lot of confusion and he has heard that there have been anywhere from two to 12 arrests, and some very serious injuries.
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.
NEWS CONFERENCE UPDATE
WSLS Reports that there are 20 Dead according to reports from the police news conference. This information is not in keeping with what we've learned thus-far making this number very suspect.
This is 2nd hand from the chief of the VT Police via a Rosa Duarte who was at the conference.
Confirm from Roanoke Times:
Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum is saying there at least 20 fatalities in this morning's shootings.
As many as 28 are wounded.
Update 22 - Gunman Dead
Multiple reports indicate that the gunman in dead. No indication as to the identity or motive of the gunman has surfaced.
Update 23 - Campus Closed
All exits and entrances to campus are closed. If you have a child at Tech and want to pick them up please do so at the Inn At Virginia Tech which is located on Prices Fork Road.
Update 24 - Partial Evacuation
WSLS Reports: Students are being evacuated at this time.
All students are asked to stay in their dorms. Faculty and staff should get off campus ASAP without delay.
Update 25 - Tech's Public Statement
The following comes from Virginia Tech's website. It is reproduced here as www.vt.edu is experiencing heavy load.
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.
Update 26 - Death Toll Revised
ABC News reports between 25 and 29 dead now.
Update 27 - Death Toll Revised
AP and other outlets have revised the death-toll to 31. Fox News reports 32.
Update 28 -- Clarifications
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.
Update 29 - More Information Coming In
The death-toll has been revised to 33, presumably following the deaths of several of those previously in critical condition.
MSNBC reports the shooter as an Asian male in his 20s. No further details as to the shooter's identity have been made public.
As Courts points out below, Tech began alerting students as early as 9:26. Tech's campus spans some 2600 acres and locking it down is a daunting task.
Police are no longer looking for any additional suspects. Even so, authorities are unwilling to specifically link the shootings in West AJ and Norris Hall despite repeated statements that no further suspects are being sought.
Update 30 - A State of Emergency
Governor Tim Kaine has declared a state of emergency, giving Tech access to far more of the apparatus of the state. Kaine is flying back to Virginia from an economic conference in Tokyo and should arrive early tomorrow morning.
At this point, despite numerous victim interviews and repeated media inquiries, no information as to the nature of the shooter's weapon has been forthcoming.
Update 31 - Presidential Rumors
From the Roanoke Times:
President Bush's staff has talked to Virginia Tech officials about the possibility of Bush visiting campus this week, Tech President Charles Steger said at a press conference this evening.
There are also some rumors that President Bush will be present at the memorial service tomorrow. While there is certainly call for a national coming-together in the wake of all of this, Bush's presence, particularly following his 2nd Amendment comments earlier, might be unwelcome.
Update 32 - Montgomery Regional Hospital Press Conference
A press conference at MRH reports that all patients still there from the VT shootings are now listed in "Stable" condition. This means that several who were previously listed in "Critical" have been upgraded over night. Similarly, all patients at the Radford facility are also now listed in stable condition. Radford expects to discharge at least one patient today.
Virginia Tech has confirmed that the shooter in the Norris Hall incident was a Virginia Tech student that lived on campus, though no further details have been provided. A VT Press Conference is scheduled for 9:00 am EST today. Local media are already speculating that the identity of the shooter will be disclosed at that press conference.
Update 33 -- AP Casualty List
Update 34 - VT Press Conference
The deceased gunman was a 23 year old South Korean male named Cho Seung-Hui. Seung-Hui was an English Major undergrad in his senior year. He lived in Centerville and resided in Harper Residence Hall at Virginia Tech. He was armed with a 9mm and .22 cal handgun. Ballistics from ATF indicate
that there was one shooter that the same handgun was used in both shootings, but this does not conclusively demonstrate that there was one shooter. All deceased are at the medical examiner's office in Roanoke. Names will be released once next of kin are notified.
Update 35 - 10:02 am
Cho Seung-Hui is reported to have left a "disturbing note" behind which may shed some light on his motives. Initial reports indicate that the shooter returned to Harper Hall (his residence hall) to aquire more ammunition and chains for the doors of Norris during the three hour block between the AJ and Norris shootings.
Further Updates In "Aftermath" Thread
Continuing coverage of the Tech shootings and updates on the arrangements to follow may be found here.