open thread on VT shootings

Brent Finnegan -- April 16th, 2007

While this isn’t technically Harrisonburg news, it will surely affect many local residents…

NLS: at least 32 shot dead on campus


A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people and wounding another 21 before he was killed, police said.


It was one of the worst shootings on a university campus in the United States since Charles Whitman went to top of the tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 1, 1966, and opened fire on people 27 stories below. He killed 15 people, including his mother and wife the night before, and wounded 31 others.

Comment from Frank Witt
Time: April 16, 2007, 12:04 pm
More voilence at Va Tech…at least 1 dead and maybe as many as 9 injured.

Comment from Frank Witt
Time: April 16, 2007, 12:20 pm
make that as many as 21 inured now…

Comment from Frank Witt
Time: April 16, 2007, 12:25 pm
at least 20 shot to death according to major news networks

Comment from writergirl
Time: April 16, 2007, 12:35 pm
I’m so confused….they said they have someone in custody and now they are saying he’s dead. This is nuts! I know so many people there; I’m praying for everyone!

Comment from Frank Witt
Time: April 16, 2007, 12:56 pm
I can only hope you find everyone safe.
Please know that we pray for all involved.

25 Responses to “open thread on VT shootings”

  1. finnegan says:

    No word yet from GOPHokie

  2. writergirl says:

    ABC News is reporting 29 dead.

  3. finnegan says:

    God, this is awful. April 16 will always be remembered for this. I used to attend UT Austin, and there was always a dark history surrounding the tower, and that was in the 60s. I’m sure it will be the same for VT for decades to come.

  4. writergirl says:

    It is so awful. This is now the record for school shootings and is reporting 32 dead. Don’t really trust Fox, so I’m waiting to see confirmation somewhere else. What makes someone think this is an OK think to do? What goes through your mind when you just decide to start taking people out?

  5. linz says:

    I’m also confused about reports of a gunman dead, a gunman in custody, and the search for another shooter. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this and I hope that the survivors are out of danger and getting the care and comfort they need.

  6. writergirl says:

    Apparently there was just one gunman and he is dead. The search for another is procedure.

  7. Renee says:

    CNN is reporting AP news that 31 total are dead. There are very few reports from people that actually witnessed the shooting. Most of the reports are coming from students on campus that only heard what happened. If it is 31 dead, this is now the deadliest shooting rampage in US history.
    I’m waiting to hear more definite details. There hasn’t been any new news except the number of injuries since noon. The police are waiting until the parents of injured students have been notified before they give any more info. I’ve been watching since the report of 1 dead this morning, and it was shocking how quickly it went from 1 dead, to 7-8 shot, to 17 shot, to 21 dead and 21 wounded. The families are in my prayers.

  8. Anon. says:

    this is so tragic. Many area kids in school there, pray that they are all safe.

  9. I really, really want to know why this happened. This is completely senseless murder.

  10. JGFitzgerald says:

    The story is changing so quickly none of the news sites can keep up or even match for a moment. I missed this phase as a newsman, leaving the business in 1995. I do remember seeing the future of news very clearly during the Oklahoma City bombing, when CNN showed raw footage of the site with the anchor able to do little other than warn viewers that it was graphic. A lot of news sites seem to be having similar problems today, trying to give dependable and accurate details, but having a deadline every 24 seconds instead of hours. About all you can do is ask yourself how any details but the identities of the victims could matter.

  11. Gxeremio says:

    What a horrible thing to happen.

    After my initial thoughts about the people I know at Tech or who live in the area, I began to wonder what it would be like to live in a place where this kind of horror is lived out on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.

  12. Wes says:

    Virginia Tech briefing just confirmed 31 dead including the shooter from Norris hall and an additional 2 dead at Ambler Johnston, still not confirming a link between the two.

  13. Wes says:

    Scratch that, 32 total, I misheard the chief.

  14. A murder on a college campus in broad day light with no suspect aprehended and you don’t lock the campus down???? It’s not as though we don’t have precedent here…

    The lead officer and President of the school state that they felt they had the situation under control after the first shooting, yet, they had NO suspect in custody. How can you feel you are in control when the shooter is at large? The President asks where do you lock them down? How about sending them home? Students were not notified for two hours after the first murder.

    I realize there will be a lot of information to come and that no one would ever want this to happen, especially those at VT, but I don’t think they will ever satisfy certain feelings that the school should have been locked down. The president has stated “it happened in minutes” but it was more then two hours later when the next shooting began.

    I’m sorry. I have friends there, and students that I have taught. Right now I’m just sick and scared. I haven’t been able to get hold of anyone to know what is happening with any of them.

    I just got a phone call and have been told that two of my former students are safe! We don’t know about others but people are working on it is what I was told.

    These are times that I am thankful that faith and prayer comforts me.

  15. Johnathan says:

    I can’t believe it either Stephen, their reasoning doesn’t
    make any sense to me!!!!

  16. danno says:

    Winslow – I don’t understand it either.. My immediate reaction when I read that the second shootout happed TWO HOURS later was shock. The VT President apparently had reason to believe the shooter had left campus, although I haven’t found anything in the news yet that explains what those reasons actually are. And even if he did leave, I would still expect law enforcement to assess the crime scene.

  17. danno says:

    Edit: I just read that they were assessing the scene at the dorm when the second shooting happened; I’d scratch that if this blogger allowed for it.

  18. finnegan says:

    I just found out that a family friend is one of (reportedly) two survivors in a classroom where everyone else got mowed down. He jumped out the window, and is currently in surgery. Unbelievable. I really hope he pulls through.

  19. writergirl says:

    Thank God he escaped Finnegan. If anyone hears anything about Nicholas Marshman I’d really like to know. I didn’t want to call his father today if they were waiting to hear from him. I know other people there, but I probably won’t hear anything about them until the rest of the country does. I’m praying for everyone.

  20. He’s OK writergirl…are you Emmy??

  21. kai says:

    Is anyone interested in naming a time and place to gather downtown, open to anyone, to share space and discuss this issue? I don’t mean any structure or moderation at all, just a place to come, sit, and be with others who want to do so? I’ll look into reserving a space tomorrow and post again if there’s interest.

  22. kai says:

    For anyone who is in position to convene a conversation about this issue with a small group of friends, roommates, family, students, colleagues, neighbors, etc, and feels they WOULD like a process to use to give a minimal structure to provide a space where people can really be heard, let me suggest this:

    1. Use something to indicate who’s turn it is to talk (e.g. salt shaker).
    2. Quickly read through these agreements
    1. Open-mindedness: listen to and respect all points of view
    2. Acceptance: suspend judgment as best you can
    3. Curiosity: seek to understand rather than persuade
    4. Discovery: question old assumptions, look for new insights
    5. Sincerity: speak for yourself about what has personal heart and meaning
    6. Brevity: go for honesty and depth but don’t go on and on

    3. Pass the talking object around once to get everyone’s initial reaction.
    4. Pass it around again to get people’s insights again.
    5. Put the object in the middle, break into normal conversation. Use the talking object if you have something to share but don’t want to wrestle your way into the conversation.
    6. Ten minutes before you end, pass it around one more time to bring closure.

    You can do this in 60-90 minutes and have a meaningful conversation where people can really talk and listen.

    This is the Conversation Cafe process, and I share it here in case anyone is actively pursuing the question, “How can we talk about this?” Of course, there are many ways – this is a simple, elegant process. Use it as you like.

  23. finnegan says:

    The DNR has the info up about Gill and Heidi, two Harrisonburg (ex) residents that were shot.

  24. writergirl says:

    Yes that’s me Christa.

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