virginia tech shootings: shocking first hand accounts from bloggers

A shooting at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Virginia has reportedly left over twenty people dead. I’ve been looking around for coverage from students and staff on campus…

icantread01 has the most shocking account I’ve yet come across. He slept in this morning while his friend, possibly girlfriend, Kate, went to class. He spoke to her on the phone where she is being treated for a gunshot wound. Here is her account:

“The story goes that she was in class and they heard a banging, her teacher opened the door to find out what was going on, and after not seeing anything, closed the door. Not more than two seconds later, a gunman entered her room, to which the class responded by getting underneath the desks and basicly hiding as well as possible from this guy. He then shot at the class somewhere between 8 to 12 times and then left. Kate was hit in the hand by a stray bullet, after speaking with her on the phone while she was/is at the hospital,I found out that she still has a peice of a bullet lodged into her hand, and has fractions on her index and pinkey finger. She is about to go into surgery to get that cleaned up and will be there for the next three days. Again she was not specific on exactly what transpired there, but it must have been very stressful for her. She said that the gunman, who looked asian, left and She and another classmate barricated the door while others attended to the wounded and injured. The gunman came back and tried to get in, but because of the barracade couldnt and proceeded to shoot at the door at hip level, while kate was and the other classmates were at ground level.

He wondered off after that, I dont know what happened to him after that, except the police say he’s dead. Anyways, the class was then escorted by police to the drillfield where they got into cop cars and then abulances, which is how kate is now at montgomery hostpital. She is truley my hero for not only going through such an experience but also by being able to take action and make sure that this gunman was unable to return to the classroom.

the police now say that 22 are dead. I remember kate crying on the phone saying that she didn’t think [someone she knew – removed by Robin] made it out of the whole thing. I’m not sure on that one either.

Because of whats transpiring, my phone cannot connect to the network, its constantly busy. For everyone who has been calling me wondering whats going on, im sorry, ill try to get back to everyone as soon as possible.”

I passed the above information, which includes several pieces of potentially verifiable information, on to colleagues at BBC News Online so you may hear more about the account above in the coming hours and days.

Jennie Tal, a student who isn’t on campus at the moment but who is in touch with people who are, has been live blogging:

“Apparently one of my freinds was shot in the leg at WAJ, the dorm shooting this morning. I have heard he was shot in the leg, he’s an RA there. I have heard there was one female shot and killed in WAJ and a male RA injured on the news.

Unconfirmed, I have heard that at triage there were more than 30 “black tags” at triage. That means body bags. I hope that’s not true.”

Notcoolfool explains that he can only communicate that he’s safe by posting online because “the phone lines are overwhelmed currently, so no calls can be made.” He describes what he saw in a long post that includes photographs of policemen on the scene:

“My friends and I got out of class at about 9:50. Walked across campus. The wind blew with flurries about. Sirens were in the distance and I saw an undercover cop car go about 80 down one of the drives. That was odd. In front one of the dorms, West AJ, were several police cars, lights off and parked. We started talking about how there are always situations that cops rush across campus for and we never hear about.

Then several people walked by and told us there was a shooting and campus was closed. No one is allowed to cross the drillfield. Hmm. We went ahead to eat some food as cops were stationed in front, checking ID for everyone. I walked with my friend to his dorm to get his stuff as an omniscient announcement echoed across campus:

“This is an emergency. This is an emergency. Take shelter in doors immediately. Stay away from windows and remain inside.”

Right on cue, I heard several faint gunshots from across campus (the Burruss area) as more sirens blared. The announcement repeated as the campus emptied and police ran across campus. I saw snipers on the library. My friend and I went to our dorm as people yelled at windows telling us that classes were canceled.

When we got to our dorm no one was around outside. Looking out a window, we saw a SWAT member hide behind some stairs near one of the food courts, seemingly expecting a shooter to walk by. This meant they had no clue where he was, which is a scary realization. Some idiot ran into the food court and ran out with his food, and some Coke truck drivers ran into their car and sped out of the parking lot. A couple policemen ran into the adjacent hall with guns drawn, but came out a few minutes later and drove off.”

Over on Evil-Genius, psi29a has been posting frequent updates in the comments. Meanlady, who works on the campus, arrived to find the doors locked. MySpace user Oz is glad her ex didn’t make it to class this morning:

“So I begin getting text, emails and phone calls about half an hour ago about the shootings at Tech! WTF is going on!?!? I call my ex Jamie to make sure he’s okay…his classes are in one of the buildings that was under “attack”…apparantly he should have been in the floor that got hit the hardest, however, he partied all night and so he woke up late. Beerpong literally may have saved his life.”

Student Rich Crawford, who goes by the username and1headache on flickr, has posted some photos showing police and ambulances arriving.

If you find other stuff do please add links in the comments…

—– Updates: All times London (BST) —–

19.41: BBC News 24 just read out some of the account from Paul at the top of this post. CNN’s iReporter has some video taken on a mobile phone.

20.03: There is a wikipedia page providing coverage and links.

20.22: NPR and CBC have spotted the post I quoted from at the top and have been leaving comments on the live journal asking the author to get in touch.

00.02: ntcoolfool has posted about the international media finding his earlier posts:

“As of the time I am writing this I have done a radio interview with BBC and talked with a reporter from the LA Times. CBC Newsworld, the Boston Herald, Current TV, and MTV have asked for interviews and further information. As I said I intend to share my experiences with everyone, but I want to reinstate that I am just an average student and I don’t want to be made into something I am not.”

And, later, he says,

“This is ridiculous. I find myself getting excited because I’m on the news (Fox News recently shared the blog). Each time I hear something else I get a brief moment of selfish joy before I am stabbed in the heart, realizing that I deserve no credit and that lives are gone, destroyed, and in pain. What is the significance of all this? My postings are simply what I always do– except I left my thoughts for the public instead of just my friends. This run of emotions is hard to bear. I need to go for a walk– but of course, what good is that since everything is outside my door. There is no escaping. The chains have been tied to the door.”

He later asks the question many are likely to ask in the coming days and weeks:



00.21: Collegiate Times (whose server is down so is piggie backing elsewhere) has the story of Erin Shehan who was, I think, probably in the same class as Kate whose story is told at the top of this post. The Collegiate Times says:

“Erin Sheehan was one of four people able to walk out of her 9:05 German class in room 207 Norris Hall.

“It’s a small class, about 25 people,” she said. “And I would say no more than 2 people didn’t show up, were absent. And of those of us that were in there today, only four of us walked out of that room, but two of us had been injured during the shooting,” Sheehan said.

“It seemed so strange,” Sheehan said. “Because he peaked in twice, earlier in the lesson, like he was looking for someone, somebody, before he started shooting. But then we all heard something like drilling in the walls, and someone thought they sounded like bullets. That’s when we blockaded the door to stop anyone from coming in.”

“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit. He wore a tan button up vest, and this black vest, maybe it was for ammo or something.”

“I saw bullets hit people’s body,” Sheehan said. “There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out, I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom. The rest were dead or injured.”

02.00: The World’s media seems to have spotted the post I highlighted at the top of this post. I feel uncomfortable knowing that I seem to be the one who linked to it first. There are approaches from every media company imaginable in the comments to his heartfelt posts.

02.10: A backlash against the way the world’s media has tried to aproach bloggers on the Virginia Tech campus. This post is a good example:

“…I also have mixed feelings about having read your blog. On the one hand, I enjoyed being able to cut through the media bullshit and read about the day from your perspective. I read your entry aloud to my roommates since I thought it sounded so much like what would happen at our house. On the other hand, the only thing sicker than what happened today is the way the news outlets are going about contacting VT students. Although you have a public blog, how were you to know that it would attract so much attention? I am really disheartened by their insincere sounding messages and attempts to get the authenticity that your LJ already has, just by virtue of you being an individual in a truly horrible situation.

As a Canadian, I am appalled at the behaviour of the CBC. I will be writing a complaint regarding the language they have used in trying to collect first-hand stories from people. One woman on facebook opened her post in a VT Memorial Thread by saying “I see I’m not the only one addicted to facebook! hahaha” … This is a disgrace. The people you are trying to contact have been directly affected by one of the most frightening and horrific events of our time.

Sorry for the rant… I am just so sad over the whole thing, and to see the news organization I trust behaving so disgustingly makes it even worse…”


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  5. My condolences to all the familys and friends!
    Cheers from Argentina

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