Virginia Tech massacre: Yesterday’s heros (MULTIPLE UPDATES – VICTIMS PROFILES ADDED)

(Note: My prior post on this tragedy is here)

***Scroll and refresh for updates***

In the midst of the tragedy yesterday emerged a few heros. Captain Ed blogs about a couple of them, including Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, who gave his life yesterday so his students would be safe.

VTech is holding a press conference, which will be broadcast momentarily.

From the presser:

— Classes are cancelled for the rest of the week.

— Norris Hall will be closed for the remainder of the semester.

— The killer is: Cho Hui Seung (corrected) – 23 y/o South Korean student, enrolled as undergrad – senior year, he was an English major. Living on campus. 2 handguns found on Lee. Confirmed that those guns were used in both shootings.

— Can’t link bomb threats to shootings just yet.

— Victims found in at least four classrooms and a stairwell.

— John Marshall, secretary of public safety in Virginia (corrected) says that the campus police made the right decisions yesterday based on the info they had at the time.

— They didn’t take any questions.


Update I: ABC News has more on Cho Hui Seung here:

April 17, 2007 — Cho Hui Seung, a resident alien of the United States, a South Korean national and a Virginia Tech senior has been identified as the gunman in the shootings that left 33 people dead on the Virginia Tech campus Monday, ABC News has learned.

The student killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left a “disturbing note” before entering a classroom building on the other side of campus to continue his rampage, sources said.

Cho’s identitiy has been confirmed with a positive fingerprint match on the guns used in the rampage and with immigration materials. It is believed that he was the shooter in both incidents yesterday. Sources say Cho was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol, sources said. Witnesses had also told authorities that the shooter was carrying a backpack. Sections of chain similar to those used to lock the main doors at Norris Hall, the site of the second shooting that left 31 dead, were found inside a Virginia Tech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.

Other related news:

CityNews Canada provides a timeline of events. MSNBC has a graphic detailing yesterday morning’s events.

The President and First Lady will attend a memorial service today for the victims.

Update II: Fox News has a partial list of the names of some of those killed in yesterday’s rampage.

Update III: Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy examines data on the frequency (or lack thereof?) of shootings at schools/colleges in the US.

Also, keep checking the college’s Collegiate Times website for updates, photos, and other information related to yesterday’s tragedy. It’s being constantly updated.

Update 4: The WaPo has more on the murderer of 32 victims.

Update 5: More liberal blogger comparisons of the VTech massacre to Iraq.

Update 6: The Chicago Tribune is reporting contents of what is supposedly the note left by the killer prior to the murders (h/t Allah):

The note included a rambling list of grievances, according to sources. They said Cho also died with the words “Ismail Ax” in red ink on the inside of one of his arms.

Cho had shown recent signs of violent, aberrant behavior, according to an investigative source, including setting a fire in a dorm room and allegedly stalking some women.

A note believed to have been written by Cho was found in his dorm room that railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus.

Update 7: A live video stream of the VTech convacation (which will be held at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg) will be broadcast here. The convacation starts at 2 ET, and as noted earlier, the President and First Lady will be in attendance.

Update 8: The AP reports that killer’s writings were found to be so disturbing that he had been referred to the school’s counseling services:

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead was identified Tuesday as a English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school’s counseling service.

News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus.


Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department’s director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as “troubled.”

“There was some concern about him,” Rude said. “Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it’s creative or if they’re describing things, if they’re imagining things or just how real it might be. But we’re all alert to not ignore things like this.”

She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws.

Update 9: MSNBC has profiles of the Cho’s victims. MKH has a moving tribute. Sigh.

The Australian Daily Telegraph wonders if Cho was “crazed over Emily” (Hilscher, one of the first two victims that morning).

A lot of people are speculating that it may have been a lovers’ quarrel that started it all. My question is, with so many other buildings there, why he chose Norris Hall. I’m curious as to the significance of it, like if there were students/professors he was looking for during the rampage.

The President has ordered flags to fly at half staff.

Update 10: Here are some predictable European reactions to the killings.

Update 11: The NYT has an article about a man claiming to be Cho’s roommate:

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 17 — He was a stranger in a crowd of 26,000. Cho Seung-Hui was even unknown to the young man who for nearly a year slept just feet away from him.

“He was my roommate” said Joe Aust, a 19-year-old sophomore. “I didn’t know him that well, though.”

Mr. Aust, who was an engineering major, and another student who shared their suite, Karan Grewal, 21, painted a picture of a loner who ate his meals alone in the dining hall and shunned any attempts at friendship.

They never saw him with a girl or any friends for that matter.

But they thought he was just strange. Never in a million years could they imagine him to be the kind of person who would kill 32 other people in a three-hour spasm of violence.


If some of Mr. Cho’s teachers were concerned, the students who shared a suite with him were puzzled by him.

Mr. Grewal recalled how earlier in the year someone running for a student council position visited the suite to pass out candy and ask for votes. Mr. Cho would not even make eye contact with him, turning his head away and refusing to make conversation.

— ABC’s “The Blotter” has the story on the gun used in yesterday’s killings. On a related note, Stephen Spruiell catches Keith Olbermann spinning gun laws in an attempt to – what else – blame Bush for yesterday’s tragedy. Read more on that via Olbermann Watch.


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