Police: Gunman Is Korean Student
Authorities are still investigating whether Cho had any accomplices in planning or executing Monday's rampage, Col. Steven Flaherty of the Virginia State Police said. "It certainly is reasonable for us to assume that Cho was the shooter in both places, but we don't have the evidence to take us there at this particular point in time..."
The gunman who killed 30 people at Virginia Tech's Norris Hall before turning the gun on himself was student Cho Seung-hui, university police Chief Wendell Flinchum said Tuesday.
University officials said they were still trying to determine whether Cho was responsible for an earlier shooting at a dormitory that left two dead. However, Flinchum said ballistics tests show that one of the two guns recovered at Norris Hall was used at Norris and at the dorm, both located on the 26,000-student campus.
Authorities are still investigating whether Cho had any accomplices in planning or executing Monday's rampage, Col. Steven Flaherty of the Virginia State Police said. "It certainly is reasonable for us to assume that Cho was the shooter in both places, but we don't have the evidence to take us there at this particular point in time," Flaherty said.
Cho, a 23-year-old South Korean and resident alien, lived at the university's Harper Hall, Flinchum said. He was an English major, the chief said. Cho was a loner and authorities are having a hard time finding information about him, said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations.
A department of Homeland Security official said Cho came to the United States in 1992, through Detroit, Michigan. He had lawful permanent residence, via his parents, and renewed his green card in October 2003, the official said.
His residence was listed as Centreville, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
The university and police are still in the process of releasing the names of the 32 people killed in Monday's shootings.
"What went on during that incident certainly caused tremendous chaos and panic in Norris Hall," Flaherty said, describing how victims were found in four classrooms and in the stairwell of the school's engineering science and mechanics building.
A doctor at a Blacksburg hospital described the injuries he saw Monday as "amazing" and the shooter as "brutal." "There wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them," said Dr. Joseph Cacioppo of Montgomery Regional Hospital.
Even among the less serious injuries, Cacioppo said, "we saw one patient that had a bullet wound to the wrist, one to the elbow and one to the thigh. We had another one with a bullet wound to the abdomen, one to the chest and one to the head."
A source familiar with the investigation said the weapons found at Norris were a Walther .22-caliber semi-automatic and a 9 mm Glock -- both with the serial numbers filed off. As questions continued to arise about how police reacted to the first shooting at the dorm, Steger on Tuesday defended the response, saying police believed it to be "a domestic fight, perhaps a murder-suicide" that was contained to one dorm room.
Police cordoned off the 895-student West Ambler Johnston dorm and all residents were told about the shooting as police looked for witnesses, Steger said.
Authorities were still investigating what they believed was an "isolated incident" when the slaughter occurred at Norris Hall.
"I don't think anyone could have predicted that another event was going to take place two hours later," Steger said, adding that it would've been difficult to warn every student because most were off campus at the time.
Steger told reporters Monday that when police responded to Norris Hall they found the front doors chained shut. The gunfire had stopped by the time they reached the second floor, he said. The gunman killed 31 people, including himself, and wounded 15 in Norris Hall classrooms.
The gunman was dressed "almost like a Boy Scout" and wore a black ammunition vest, said a student who survived by pretending to lie dead on a classroom floor.
"He just stepped within five feet of the door and just started firing," said Erin Sheehan. "He seemed very thorough about it, getting almost everyone down, I pretended to be dead."
The shooter, who remained quiet throughout the rampage, came back 30 seconds after the first round of gunfire and Sheehan and her classmates tried to barricade the door with their bodies, she said. After the shooter couldn't get in, he began firing through the door, Sheehan said. Of the 25 students in her German class, Sheehan was one of four able to walk out on her own when police arrived.
As of midday Tuesday, officials were still releasing the names of victims, which include a marching band member from Georgia and an Israeli Holocaust survivor who headed the engineering and science department.
The university has scheduled a convocation for 2 p.m. ET Tuesday. President Bush and the first lady are scheduled to attend. Classes have been canceled for the rest of the week, and Norris Hall will be closed for the remainder of the semester, Steger said. Student Emily Alderman said students were sending out instant messages urging each other to wear their Virginia Tech Hokie gear in a sign of unity.
There have been two bomb threats at the university this month, the latest of which came Friday. Flinchum said Tuesday they were unrelated to the shootings.
Last August, the first day of class was cut short at Virginia Tech by a manhunt for an escaped prisoner accused of killing a Blacksburg hospital security guard and a sheriff's deputy.
Before Monday, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States occurred in 1991, when George Hennard drove a pickup truck into a Killeen, Texas, cafeteria and fatally shot 23 people, before shooting and killing himself.
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