Timeline: How the Virginia Tech Shootings Unfolded

Students read their school newspaper prior to a convocation and memorial.

hide captionStudents read their school newspaper prior to a convocation and memorial one day after a shooting massacre at Virginia Tech.

Mannie Garcia/AFP/Getty Images
Virginia Tech campus map. Credit: Lindsay Mangum, NPR. i i

hide captionThe first shooting occurred at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory. The second shooting took place two hours later, at Norris Hall, an engineering building about a half-mile away.

Lindsay Mangum, NPR
Virginia Tech campus map. Credit: Lindsay Mangum, NPR.

The first shooting occurred at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory. The second shooting took place two hours later, at Norris Hall, an engineering building about a half-mile away.

Lindsay Mangum, NPR

The shootings at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. — the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history — left 33 people dead. Police have identified Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old English major from Centerville, Va., as the gunman; he was among the dead. The killings began at 7:15 a.m. on April 16; a timeline charts key events in the day's tragedy.

Monday, April 16, 2007

7:15 a.m. — Virginia Tech police respond to a 911 call from West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall, where a man and woman have been shot and killed. Police establish a safety perimeter around the dorm.

7:30 a.m. — After interviewing witnesses, police believe the double homicide stemmed from a domestic dispute and was an isolated incident. They also believe the gunman has fled campus and are following up on leads concerning a person of interest in relation to the killings.

8 a.m. — Students begin their first classes of the day. Word of the killings begins to spread among students via text messages and cell-phone calls.

8:25 a.m. — Virginia Tech officials, including the university president, executive vice president and provost, meet to assess the situation and decide how to notify staff and students.

9 a.m. — Campus police Chief Wendell Flinchum briefs university officials on the investigation.

9:26 a.m. — School officials send out the first e-mail notifying staff and students to the killings at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall.

Off campus, police interview a person of interest in the first shooting, whom they do not arrest. While they are speaking with him, the second attack starts at Norris Hall.

9:45 a.m. — The campus police respond to a 911 call about a shooting at Norris Hall, an engineering building, where the front doors have been chained shut from the inside. The police break in and hear gunshots coming from the second floor. When they get upstairs, the gunshots stop, and the officers find the gunman has killed himself.

9:50 a.m. — Virginia Tech officials send a second e-mail, warning students that a gunman is loose on campus. They ask everyone to stay inside and away from the windows until further notice.

10:16 a.m. — A third e-mail from university announces that all classes have been canceled. It also advises people on campus to remain behind locked doors and for those who are not on campus to stay away.

10:52 a.m. — University officials send another e-mail saying that a number of people have been shot inside Norris Hall. They repeat earlier warnings to stay inside.

12 p.m. — At a news conference, Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum says 22 people have been killed.

4:30 p.m. — University President Charles W. Steger and Flinchum, the campus police chief, confirm that 33 people are dead, including the gunman. They say they will not announce the names of the victims until their families are notified.

Compiled from NPR staff reports, the Virginia Tech web site, press conferences and the Collegiate Times.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: