At least 32 people were killed in Blacksburg, Virginia, when a gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech University Monday in the deadliest mass shooting rampage in the United States. The gunman, then took his own life, campus police chief Wendell Flinchum told reporters. VOA's Peter Fedynsky reports.
A student reporter with a cell phone recorded scenes of police approaching one of the buildings on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg where the shootings occurred.
The events unfolded in the morning over two hours in two separate locations. University President Charles Steger says only one gunman seems to have been involved.
"The shooter in Norris Hall is deceased," he said. "There are multiple fatalities. The number of fatalities has not been confirmed."
Steger says Virginia Tech University was hit with a tragedy of monumental proportions.
"The university is shocked and indeed horrified that this would befall us and I want to extend my deepest and most sincere and profound sympathies to the families of these victims, which include our students," he said.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says President Bush is horrified by the killings and that his thoughts and prayers are with the victims. Asked about gun control policy, Perino says Mr. Bush believes in the people's constitutional right to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.
"If there are changes to the president's policy, then we will let you know," she said. "But we've had a consistent policy of ensuring that the Justice Department is enforcing all of the gun laws that we have on the books and making sure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Perino says state and local authorities are leading the investigation, adding that federal law enforcement assets are available, if Virginia should request them.
America's first encounter with a campus massacre occurred in 1966, when a sniper at the University of Texas shot and killed 16 people. In 1999, 12 students and a teacher were killed by two boys at Columbine High School in the suburban town of Littleton, Colorado. In October 2006, an armed gunman killed six girls in a one room Amish schoolhouse in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger says the university will hold convocation on Tuesday to commemorate victims of the tragedy in Blacksburg.