VA Tech timeline:
Tue Apr 17, 2007 02:14


VA Tech timeline:

Chinese Immigrant Student Identified as Virginia Tech Shooter
The man who perpetrated the worst shooting spree in US history has been identified as a student, a Chinese national, 24 years old, who was here on a student visa. He arrived in the US via San Francisco on United Airlines on August 7, 2006. His visa was issued in Shanghai. He was about six feet tall and had a calm but serious demeanor. He was apparently a student at Virginia Tech, but that has not been confirmed.

The incident in question was the shooting spree at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia this morning. The first shooting was motivated by jealousy. In the initial incident, a man walked into the West Ambler Johnson Hall Freshman Dormitory at 7:15 AM, moved to the fourth floor, searching for his former girlfriend who had left him for another man.

He found her on a stairwell and shot her dead. When a resident advisor came to try to save her, he shot her too, wounding her. She later died of her wounds. He used a special security card to get into the dorm, probably obtained via the former girlfriend. The former girlfriend was a freshman studying equine science. She had gone to high school near the university.

He then left and his whereabouts were unknown for the next 2 hours and 15 minutes. The school felt that it had been a domestic disturbance and an isolated incident so they did not issue a general warning to the campus.

However, at 9:26 AM, the school did send out an email about the dorm incident urging people on campus to exercise caution. Only five minutes later though, just after 9:30, the man entered Norris Hall 1/2 mile away in the center of campus and chained the doors shut to prevent people inside from escaping.

He wore a blue jacket, blue jeans, a brown hiking-type shirt with a black vest over it and a red beret. He had two 9mm semi-automatic pistols and several rounds of ammunition draped across the vest.

He began roaming the hallways and peeking in doorways. He then he started to enter rooms, shooting students and faculty. The first room he entered and fired on was a French class. He was reportedly a student in that class. In at least one room, he moved coldly and methodically, shooting each of his victims one by one at least three times.

After each gunshot, he let out a loud laugh. Other than that, he never uttered a word the whole time. Out of 25 people and one professor in a German class in 207 Norris Hall, 24 of the 26 were either wounded or killed. Only four students walked out, and two of them were wounded. He entered the German class on two separate occasions, seemingly intent on killing everyone there.

In at least one case, he lined his victims up against a wall and then shot them one by one. In another case, students blocked a door with their bodies, but he shot through the door and got in anyway.

As he roamed from room to room, students panicked and tried to block doors with their bodies or with furniture. Students removed screens and windows in order to jump out of second and third floor windows. Some students were injured in these jumps. The first 911 call did not come until 9:45, about 10-15 minutes after the killer entered the building.

At 9:50 AM, about 15-20 minutes after the gunman entered Norris Hall, a second email went out telling that a shooter was loose on campus and advising people to stay where they were and to stay away from windows. Police came to Norris Hall and rushed the building around 9:55 AM. They broke through the chained doors and dashed into the Hall.

At that point, the gunman shot himself. He shot himself in the face, initially making identification difficult. In addition, he carried no ID and initial attempts to identify him via fingerprints were unsuccessful. The gunmen had been in Norris Hall for about 20-25 minutes before the building was rushed.

There was pandemonium. Students carried the wounded out by themselves, not even waiting for ambulances to arrive. Heavily-armed police and SWAT officers swarmed the campus.

31 people, including the shooter, were killed in Norris Hall, and at least 29 more were wounded. In addition to the two killings at the dorm earlier, the total was 33 dead, 29 wounded. In addition to students and professors, he also shot at a janitor who was helping an injured student. At least three of the wounded were in critical condition.

A professor from India, GV Loganathan, another from Israel, Livio Livresko, Senior Professor of Mechanics and Engineering, were among those killed in Monday's fatal shooting attack at Virginia Tech college, it was reported Tuesday morning. A professor of German, Herr Bishop, was shot in the head in the attack on 207 Norris Hall. It was not known if he was killed or wounded in the attack.

There had been two separate bomb threats at the university, one on April 13 and another on April 2, but they turned out to be false alarms. Police suggested that the gunmen may have made those threats in order to test campus security.

It was the worst shooting in US history. The highest previous toll had been at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991, an incident that left 23 dead. The famous Columbine killings only killed 13 people. This shooting occurred almost eight years to the day after the Columbine shootings. Three of the four worst mass killings in US history occurred in the past 16 years.

The killer fit the psychological profile of the spree killer. A spree killer is different from a serial killer or husband and father who kills his family. No one quite knows what sets off spree killers, since they often kill themselves before they can be captured and interviewed. The usually plan these acts for at least a month beforehand.

Deeply conservative and Republican Virgina in the US South has cultivated a passionate gun culture since the 1800's. Consequently, it has some of the most lax gun laws in the US. Virginia allows you to buy one handgun every month, with no license or training required. A background check is required, but even that is not needed if you buy at gun shows.

President Bush issued a statement supporting the victims but callously refusing to support gun control.

The blog of Virginia Tech university, with plenty of detailed info on the crime, is here.

Virginia Tech Shootings Leave 33 Dead

With help from Caterpillar, Virginia Tech is up to the challenge

Main Page - Wednesday, 04/18/07

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