Death Toll in Virginia Tech Shooting Rises to 33

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
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JUST IN: Virginia Tech students and an employee say the first e-mail warning they got from the university about the shooting rampage came more than two hours after the first shots were fired - by which time the gunman had struck again.

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Government officials now say at least 32 people -- in addition to the gunman -- have been killed today at Virginia Tech University, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U-S history.

It's not clear if the gunman killed himself or if he was killed by police.

The previous deadliest mass shooting happened in 1991 in Killeen, Texas, where George Hennard drove his pickup into a Luby's Cafeteria and shot 23 people to death, then himself.

Witnesses at the school say they saw students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to avoid gunfire.

The first shooting happened in a dorm on one side of campus, and was followed at least two hours later by the shootings in the classroom building, which is on the other side.

Some students say they thought precautions on campus had been lifted after the first shooting.



AFTERMATH:

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia Tech has set up meeting places for families to reunite with their children following today's deadly shootings.

The school has also made counselors available and has planned a convocation for tomorrow at the school's basketball arena.

The university's president says the school is "shocked and indeed horrified" by the deaths of 21 people killed by a gunman in a dorm and in a classroom. The president says the tragedy is one of "monumental proportions."

It's the second time in less than a year that the campus was closed because of a shooting.

Last August, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area.



ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH:

A school that's been well known for its engineering school and its football team will now also be remembered as the site of the deadliest campus shooting in U-S history.

At least 21 people were killed today at Virginia Tech, which is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, about 160 miles west of Richmond.
It has more than 25-thousand full-time students, making it the state's largest full-time student population. Many of them say they were on lockdown inside after the shooting was reported.

The campus is centered around the Drill Field, a grassy field where military cadets once practiced. The dorm and the classroom building where the victims were shot are on opposites sides of the Drill Field.

Classes have been canceled through tomorrow.



If you know anyone who attends Virginia Tech, please contact our newsroom at 304-340-4646 or contact us via e-mail: news@wsaz.com.

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