Gunman Who Killed 32 Lived in Va. Tech Dormitory
Tuesday, April 17, 2007; 8:32 AM
BLACKSBURG, Va., April 17 -- Virginia Tech president Charles W. Steger said today that the gunman who rampaged through the campus on Monday leaving 32 dead was a student who lived in one of the school's dormitories.
The name of the assailant has not been publicly released, but Steger, in an interview on CNN, said he was an Asian male who was "a resident in one of our dormitories."
A range of sources, including federal and local officials with knowledge of the case, have told the Washington Post that the assailant was of Korean descent. His parents live in Fairfax County, one official there said.
Authorities are expected to identify the gunman at a news conference this morning, the first official event in a day of mourning that includes a 2 p.m. convocation service with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in attendance. A student vigil is scheduled for 8 p.m. on the university drill field.
Officials today lifted a blockade of the campus, though classes have been canceled and staffing is at a minimum.
Along with killing 32, the gunman wounded several dozen during a incident that unfolded over several hours on Monday morning.
In a briefing this morning, Scott Hill, a spokesperson for Montgomery Regional Hospital, said that the 12 patients at the facility and at the Lewis-Gale Medical Center were all in stable condition. Several had been upgraded from critical overnight. Three other patients have discharged.
Defending the univesity's response to the violence, Steger said officials at first believed the incident was limited to the West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory, where two people were shot around 7 a.m.
"It was characterized as being confined to that dormitory. We thought we had it under control. I don't think anyone could have predicted," that two hours later a gunman would attack across campus, inside the Norris Hall engineering building, Steger told CNN. The gunman killed 30 people and himself inside Norris Hall.
Questions have been raised about why the university did not do more to secure the campus in the two hours between the initial shooting in the dorm and the violence in the engineering building.
Steger said campus police had appropriately sealed off the dorm and focused their efforts there, on the assumption that the violence had ended.
"We have handled this as skillfully as anyone," Steger said.