After Deaths, Questions Remain at VT Campus It is now confirmed that there have been 33 deaths Monday on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., a total that includes the gunman. But it's still unclear if the shooter was a student, and if he was shot by police or took his own life.
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After Deaths, Questions Remain at VT Campus

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After Deaths, Questions Remain at VT Campus

After Deaths, Questions Remain at VT Campus

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In Blacksburg, Virginia, it was a day like none other. A university campus terrorized. The numbers of dead and wounded sound more like a war report on a bad day than an account of a morning at Virginia Tech.

I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Michele Norris.

And in this part of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, more on the shootings that claimed more than 30 lives. Moments ago, Virginia Tech president Charles Steger spoke about the tragedy.

Mr. CHARLES STEGER (President, Virginia Tech): It is now confirmed that we have 31 deaths from the Norris Hall, including the gunman. Fifteen other victims are being treated at local hospitals in the Roanoke and New River Valleys. There are two confirmed deaths from the shooting in Ambler Johnston Dormitory in addition to the 31 at Norris Hall.

SIEGEL: Joining us now is NPR's Laura Sullivan, and Laura, the news conference is still underway at Virginia Tech. What do we know so far about the events there today?

LAURA SULLIVAN: What we know so far is that at 7:15 this morning, a gunman walked into a dorm room at one of the campus's largest dorm halls and shot two people. And police were called to the scene about 7:30 and as they were investigating that tragedy, two hours later at least 20 where people were shot in the classroom and 30 people were shot in the building that the classroom is in.

He - there are reports that I have confirmed from several sources, that he chained the doors of the buildings so none of the students couldn't get out, and that he also shot himself so badly that they had been unable to identify who he is, and he didn't have any ID on him.

SIEGEL: The president of the university said he carried no ID. The two incidents, the two shootings - one assumes they are related but I gather that's not accepted as necessarily the case.

SULLIVAN: The campus police chief says that they haven't absolutely confirmed that the two are related but they're not looking for anybody else and they don't have anybody else in custody. So by all accounts, it suggests that it is the same shooter.

SIEGEL: So two incidents, two hours apart. What accounts, if we know, for the gap between these two events?

SULLIVAN: That is the question a lot of people on campus are asking right now. Why did it take two hours for this gunman to be able to be running around campus with - apparently with a lot of weapons? And the police say because they did not realize that what happened in the dorm was not a self-contained incident. They thought it made have been a domestic shooting or something very specific.

SIEGEL: And we have no idea what this person might have done during those two hours.

SULLIVAN: Exactly. His whereabouts are completely unaccounted for. But we do know that e-mails did not go out to students until 9:26, and that the emergency bullhorn system didn't happened until 10:00, which is long after the shootings were even over.

SIEGEL: Now, as you've said, the gunman, or the person who's presumed to be the gunman, has not been identified yet. And the university is not yet releasing names of the victims.

SULLIVAN: Right. We don't know who the victims are yet. Some of them have been very difficult to identify as well because the scene was so gruesome, and it was apparently quite a massacre. And on top of that, we don't know how many professors versus how many students were shot. But we do know that there were multiple weapons used, and that the ATF right now is investigating those weapons and trying to determine where they came from, who they belong to and where the shooter may have accumulated them.

SIEGEL: Multiple weapons, but so far no implication of multiple gunmen.

SULLIVAN: Exactly, only one gunman so far.

SIEGEL: (Unintelligible) That's NPR's Laura Sullivan, who has been tracking events down at Blacksburg, Virginia and Virginia Tech from our newsroom here in Washington.

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