Latest: 31 killed in shootings on Virginia Tech campus, including gunman
After earlier reports of only one fatality, police reported there were multiple fatalities after shootings at Virginia Tech University in what is being called the worst act of gun violence in modern American history, according to government sources cited by the Associated Press..
Blacksburg police had earlier confirmed 22 fatalities resulting from the campus shootings today according to the Virginia Tech student newspaper, the Collegiate Times. Fox News reported that that at least 32 were killed, according to a federal law enforcement source. But the Associated Press is now reporting that the gunman killed 30, and that he died as well, bringing the death toll to 31.
CNN's local affiliate, WDBJ, is reporting the gunman was among those reported dead. The shooter was earlier reported in custody.
University President Charles W. Steger called the attack "a tragedy of monumental proportions."
Students at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia, were told not to leave their dormitories via e-mail this morning after reports of shootings on campus. The university is beginning a phased evacuation.
WSLS reported that there were two different shooting incidents, according to a message at their website.
"Virginia Tech officials say two incidents on campus today," they reported. "One shooting occured between 7:30 and 7:15 AM at West Ambler Johnston Dorm. A second happend at 10 AM, no location was given at this time."
The second shooting occurred at Norris Hall, according to the university website.
Christopher Ritter, a reporter at the school's newspaper, the Collegiate Times, reported that there were logistical troubles in removing people who were injured.
"Due to serious wind helicopters cannot be used to transfer the injured. According to the police scanner, ambulances are being used to transport the victims to Montgomery Regional Hospital," he wrote.
A message at the Virginia Tech website today read "Gunman on campus; Stay indoors and away from windows."
One student blogger posted a message saying "I got another email saying it was too dangerous for me to leave my dorm. So no classes this morning, yay."
The university website also said classes were canceled tomorrow.
Virginia Tech has experienced other recent security problems. A bomb threat last week resulted in the closure of three other dormitories.
One of the dormitories where shootings occurred, West Ambler Johnston, also apparently had a racist graffiti problem last April.
"On Saturday, police responded to West Ambler Johnston Hall, where someone had written "nigger" on a wall of the dormitory in black marker, Lt. Wendell Flinchum said," according to a report at the Roanoke Times. "There have been several incidents of racist graffiti on campus at the school in the past few years and multiple incidents this semester."
President George W. Bush, through his Deputy Press Secretary at the White House, was reported to be "horrified" by the incident.
"His immediate reaction was one of deep concern for the families
of the victims, the victims themselves, the students, the professors
and all the people of Virginia who have dealt with this shocking
incident," Perino said.
"And his thoughts and prayers are with them," she added.
With wire services.