Gunman kills 32 in deadliest shooting in U.S. history
An unidentified gunman shot and killed 32 people in a classroom building at Virginia Tech Monday, in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States, according to CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/16/vtech.shooting/index.html).
Two shootings occured on campus, one around 7:15 in the morning at a dormitory on campus where two people were killed, and one about two hours later at a classroom building where at least 30 people were killed, including the gunman who appears to have taken his own life. Police are still investigating whether the incidents are related. About 30 more students were wounded in the classroom shooting at Norris Hall.
Witnesses in the building described the shooter as a young man, dressed like a boyscout, with a black ammunition vest, and of Asian descent.
The shooter apparently attacked more than one classroom. A .22 caliber handgun and a 9mm handgun were recovered at the scene.
Students in the classroom building pretended to be dead to hide from the shooter. The shooter just opened the door and fired into the rooms, being very quiet and calm. Some students tried to hide behind locked doors. Others even jumped out of windows.
By the time police arrived on the scene, after breaking through doors that were chained, the shooting had stopped.
The dormitory shooting, at West Ambler Johnston Hall, left Courtney Dalton dead, according to a friend of hers.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said that the first shooting was viewed as an isolated incident and it was decided not to shut down the whole school.
According to the Washington Post, the incidents were related (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041600533.html?hpid=topnews).
The shooter shot a young woman and a resident advisor at the dormitory, killing them both. A professor was among the dead in the classroom shooting, although he has not been identified.
Some investigators have began to think that the dorm incident was a domestic dispute, but that has not been determined, nor has the girl who was killed been identified as the shooter's intended target.
President Bush offered his condolscenes to all the victims and their families. Governor Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency and is on his way back from Tokyo. He is expected to attend a vigil that will be held Tuesday.
I found it interesting how different these stories were. First of all, the CNN story still claimed the incidents may not have been related while the Washington seems to indicate they are. This is a huge detail and I was very suprised to find different accounts. Also, I question CNN's release of one of the victim's names. The girl's family may not have been notified and their source was not police, but a friend. I think they should've waited out of sensitivity until the police officially released the name. I was also surprised to find out that the fact that this is the deadliest shooting in U.S. history was not mentioned in CNN's lead. It was bold move, but I thought it was original, as every other lead I read including that information. I found it interesting that the CNN story begins with witness accounts of the killings, sometimes in vivid detail, which does work to draw in the viewer. However, I did like the Washington Post's story more because it felt more thorough. It summarized the first story in about half a page, and then broke the story up into a few different chronologies, then closing with several eyewitness accounts. The attention to detail was very impressive. I do think both stories slightly neglect the police's role in investigating the incident and the appropriateness of their response. I think that the police were probably hesitant to speak, so the media went to interview students. This is dangerous territory, because a journalist could get lost in contrasting perspectives and personal accounts, while missing the big picture. However, both stories were incredibly affective at detailing the horror and terror taking place in the shooting.