At least 33 people, including a gunman, were killed Monday during shootings in a dorm and a classroom building at Virginia Tech, university officials said.

Two people were killed at a dormitory about 7:15 a.m., while another 30 people were killed about two hours later at Norris Hall — the engineering science and mechanics building — university officials said.

University police Chief Wendell Flinchum said police were still investigating whether the two incidents are related. Investigators are not ruling out a second shooter, Flinchum said. (Watch the police chief explain where bodies were found )

The death toll at Norris Hall makes the incident the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman at Norris Hall, who police say took his own life, was not carrying identification and has not been identified.


Freshman Erin Sheehan told the university newspaper she was in German class at Norris when the gunman peeked in twice “like he was looking for someone” and then started shooting.

The students tried to blockade the door, but the shooter — dressed in “a Boy Scout-type outfit” — made it inside.

“I saw bullets hit people’s body,” Sheehan told The Collegiate Times. “There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out — I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom.” (Watch students react to shooting )

The remaining students, about 20 of them, were dead or injured, she told the newspaper.

“Norris Hall is a tragic and a sorrowful crime scene, and we are in the process of identifying victims,” university President Charles Steger said.

Gov. Timothy Kaine, who was reportedly rushing home from a series of business-recruitment meetings in Tokyo, Japan, declared a state of emergency.


Asked why the campus, which has more than 26,000 students, was not shut down after the first shooting, Flinchum responded that police determined “it was an isolated event to that building and the decision was made not to cancel classes at that time.” (Watch gunfire on the campus )

Steger added, “We had some reason to believe the shooter had left campus.”

Spokespersons for hospitals in Roanoke, Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Salem told CNN they were treating a total of 29 injured people from the shootings.

Sharon Honaker with Carilion New River Medical Center in Christiansburg said one of the four gunshot victims being treated there was in critical condition.

Scott Hill, a spokesman for Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg, where 17 wounded students were taken, said he wasn’t expecting any more victims.

The first reported shootings occurred at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory that houses 895 students. The dormitory, one of the largest residence halls on the 2,600-acre campus, is located near the drill field and stadium.
Amie Steele, editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, said one of her reporters at the dormitory reported “mass chaos.”


The reporter said there were “lots of students running around, going crazy, and the police officers were trying to settle everyone down and keep everything under control,” according to Steele.
Kristyn Heiser said she was in class about 9:30 a.m. when she and her classmates saw about six gun-wielding police officers run by a window, apparently responding to the Norris Hall shooting.

“We were like, ‘What’s going on?’ Because this definitely is a quaint town where stuff doesn’t really happen. It’s pretty boring here,” said Heiser during a phone interview as she sat on her classroom floor.

Another student, Tiffany Otey, said she and her classmates thought the gunshots were construction noise until they heard screaming and police officers with bulletproof vests and machine guns entered her classroom.

“They were telling us to put our hands above our head and if we didn’t cooperate and put our hands above our heads they would shoot,” Otey said. “I guess they were afraid, like us — like the shooter was going to be among one of us.”

Student reports ‘mayhem’
Student Matt Waldron said he did not hear the gunshots because he was listening to music, but he heard police sirens and saw officers hiding behind trees with their guns drawn.

“They told us to get out of there so we ran across the drill field as quick as we could,” he said.

Waldron described the scene on campus as “mayhem.”


“It was kind of scary,” he said. “These two kids I guess had panicked and jumped out of the top-story window and the one kid broke his ankle and the other girl was not in good shape just lying on the ground.”

Madison Van Duyne said she and her classmates in a media writing class were on “lockdown” in their classroom. They were huddled in the middle of the classroom, writing stories about the shootings and posting them online.

The university is updating students through e-mails, and an Internet webcam is broadcasting live pictures of the campus.

The shootings came three days after a bomb threat Friday forced the cancellation of classes in three buildings, WDBJ in Roanoke reported. Also, the 100,000-square-foot Torgersen Hall was evacuated April 2 after police received a written bomb threat, The Roanoke Times reported.


Last August, the first day of classes was cut short by a manhunt for an escaped prisoner accused of killing a Blacksburg hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy.

After the Monday shootings, students were instructed to stay indoors and away from windows, according to a university statement. (Watch a student describe living through a “college Columbine” )


The university has scheduled a convocation for 2 p.m. ET Tuesday. Classes also have been canceled Tuesday. In Washington, the House and Senate observed moments of silence for the victims and President Bush said the nation was “shocked and saddened” by news of the tragedy.

“Today, our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones,” he said. “We hold the victims in our hearts, we lift them up in our prayers and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering today

Parents should NOT have to mourn thier children. This is not the way it is meant to be.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~