thoughts and prayers to all the families and friends. this morning i was watching the news and they said there was breaking news in VA. There were only two people reported dead with the gunman no where to be found. now it's up to 31. so scary and disturbing that he planned the whole thing.
NBC, MSNBC and news services
Updated: 16 minutes ago
BLACKSBURG, Va. - A gunman killed 30 people in two shooting incidents Monday at a college in Virginia in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The gunman also was killed, and at least 22 other people were injured.
“Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,” said Charles Steger, president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, in southwest Virginia. “The university is shocked and indeed horrified.”
President Bush said in a brief televised statement: “Schools should be places of sanctuary and safety and learning. ... Today, our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech.”
The shootings spread panic and confusion at the college. Witnesses reporting students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire, which rang out just four days before the eighth anniversary of the Columbine High School bloodbath near Littleton, Colo., when two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.
Federal law enforcement officials told NBC News that the gunman was dead after he shot more than 50 people at two locations on campus. Thirty-one, including the gunman, were confirmed dead.
At least 22 others were being treated at Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg and Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, the hospitals said. Six of the victims were in surgery, and five were reported in stable condition. The conditions of the 17 others were not immediately reported.
The name of the gunman was not released. Witnesses described him as a man in his 20s, wearing a maroon cap and a black leather jacket. A spokesman for the FBI in Washington said there was no immediate evidence to suggest it was a terrorist attack, “but all avenues will be explored.”
Silent gunman ‘just started shooting’
The man did not appear to be shooting at random, NBC News’ Pete Williams reported, quoting federal law enforcement officials. He seemed to have specifically targeted the two locations, a coeducational dormitory and an engineering classroom across campus.
Law enforcement officials said the gunman carried two weapons, a 9-mm pistol and a 22-caliber handgun, Williams reported. They said gunman chained the doors of the classroom building so his potential victims could not escape and police could not enter.
A student in the engineering class describe an “unreal” scene with “blood pretty much everywhere.”
“None of us thought it could have been gunshots,” the student, who identified himself as Trey Perkins, told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing in a telephone interview. “... I’m not sure how long it lasted. It seemed like a really long time.”
Perkins said the gunman never said a word. “He didn’t say, ‘Get down.’ He didn’t say anything.” He just started shooting.”
The gunman left the classroom and then tried to return, but students kept him out by bracing the door closed with their feet. “He started to try to come in again and started shooting through the door,” Perkins said, but hit no one.
“I got on the ground and I was just thinking, like, there’s no way I’m going to survive this,” Perkins said. “All I could keep thinking of was my mom.”
Until Monday, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, when George Hennard drove his pickup into a Luby’s Cafeteria and shot 23 people to death, then himself.
The deadliest previous campus shooting in U.S. history took place in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire. He killed 16 people before he was gunned down by police.
The rampage began about 7:15 a.m. ET at West Ambler Johnston, a coeducational residence hall that houses 895 people. The campus was still under lockdown, with students asked to stay indoors and away from the windows, when authorities got word of more gunfire about two hours later at Norris Hall, a classroom building.