If you have been following the news today then you are aware of the horrific and tragic events that have unfolded this morning at Virginia Tech. First, I’d like to send my heartfelt sympathies to the families of all the victims, many of whom may not know at this moment that their loved ones were harmed.
I first heard about this developing story when I arrived at work and logged into my gmail. I saw the message under the screenname of my brother’s girlfriend “Campus shooting. Under lockdown.” She is a student (graduates next month) at VT who lives on campus. I immediately IMed her and was glad to hear that she was okay. I have been on IM with her all morning, keeping up with the latest news reports as we get them. She still under lockdown in her dorm, waiting for formal evacuation even though it has been hours now.
I was shocked when I realized how close her dorm is to West Ambler Johnston Hall (site of the first shooting in the dorm); WAJ is literally up the hill from her dorm. We heard that the first shooting was a result of a guy arguing with his girlfriend, an RA approached them about the argument and he shot the RA and his gf. I am not sure if this is true, but the report on the other shootings in Norris (Engineering) building is that the gunman lined people up and shot them executioner style.
The gunman is reported to be a male, “Asian, wearing a vest with an “ungodly” amount of ammunition, firing at will.” I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some speculation about race in this event. (We all know about the stereotypes about Asians and engineering.) Over the weekend there were closures due to multiple bomb threats to the Engineering building. With the bulk of the deaths occurring in the Engineering building today, one wonders if there is a connection.
While much more about this story will undoubted be revealed over time, I’d like to take this opportunity to set one thing straight. There is a photo of an Asian man getting cuffed (arrested) being circulated on the AP with the following caption:
An unidentified man is arrested. It is unclear what role he played in the shooting
The crack newsteam at 8asians wants to be first to report that the Asian man seen being cuffed in this photo is Shaozhuo Cui, a photographer for the VT student newspaper. HE IS NOT “THE SHOOTER!” The only thing Shao can be accused of shooting is photographs. Without having heard from him yet, I assume that maybe he got too close to the action before the police took him down. (We will try to get Shao’s story here.)
Many people are circulating this photo of Shao and “connecting the dots” between the alleged Asian gunman and this image.
While that’s an interesting thought, all reports are currently reporting that the actual gunman is dead by his own hand…
More to come on this developing story…
UPDATE: Luboš Motl reports a rumor with further details about the identity of the gunman.
According to unconfirmed rumors available to The Reference Frame, the killer was a 6-foot tall male Asian student between 20 and 25 years
from Radford University whose girlfriend from Virginia Tech left him.[From Ernie: The killer has been verified as Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year old Senior from South Korea.] He had two guns and wore a vest with too much ammunition.
In the morning, he went to her dormitory. She was not there so he shot her roommate and some staff of the dormitory. They didn’t shut down the university, so he continued and tried to find the girlfriend in the classroom. He didn’t know the exact location, so he has shot a couple of classes and then himself.
UPDATE: Continuing coverage at metblogs/DC and PlanetBlacksburg
UPDATE @ 5:04pm PST: Shao’s been released, according to the live news conference happening right now. They didn’t name him by name but they said but the “student that was taking pictures and was handcuffed” and now been released.