Suspect, Some Victims Named In Virginia Tech Massacre - InformationWeek

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4/17/2007
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Suspect, Some Victims Named In Virginia Tech Massacre

Virginia Tech identified the campus shooter as a 23-year-old South Korean native who was a senior studying English at the school.

Authorities have identified the suspect in what has been labeled the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

Virginia Tech issued a statement on its Web site Tuesday morning identifying the campus shooter as Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old South Korean native who was a senior studying English at the school. Campus officials said that he had obtained resident alien status in Centerville, Va.

The university also announced that classes would be cancelled until the end of the week to provide students with time to mourn and heal. The campus will be open Wednesday for administrative purposes.

As of Tuesday morning, the authorities said that 33 people had died in the Monday morning shooting. Most of the victims were in classrooms in Norris Hall, where the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics was housed. Norris Hall, the scene of massive carnage and suffering for Virginia Tech survivors, will be closed for the remainder of the year.

Police said ballistics evidence in Norris Hall matched evidence in West Ambler Johnston residence hall, where the first set of killings took place. That would seem to rule out the theory that the incidents weren't related. It wasn't clear Tuesday morning whether bomb threats earlier this month were related to the shootings.

A student who shot video of police responding to the shooting, Jamal Albarghouti, reported live from the scene on CNN International and had his video viewed millions of times on the Internet. Albarghouti, a graduate student and teaching assistant in civil engineering and native of Palestine, said he had repeatedly told friends in the Middle East that Blacksburg, Va., is a small, safe town.

Police and campus administrators are under fire for not locking down the campus or getting word out to students earlier. They sent e-mail to students warning them of the first shooting, then that a gunman was on the loose. They told students to stay put and away from windows, but several people questioned why it took hours to get the first notice out. By the time students were told to stay in place, many were cowering with gunshots flying around them in Norris Hall, according to several witness reports.

The names of the victims trickled out Monday night and Tuesday morning, though authorities had not yet released a complete list. They said they would not do so until they had notified all of the families.

G.V. Loganathan, a 51-year-old civil and environmental engineering professor from the Indian State of Tamil Nadu, was among the dead, according to press reports from India. Loganathan, who was born in Chennai, received several awards for his work in environmental and water resource engineering. The Times of India said his family planned to travel to Virginia.

Indian embassy officials were scrambling to get information for other friends and family members who couldn't get in touch with Indian nationals enrolled at Virginia Tech, according to the newspaper.

Ryan Clark, a member of the marching band and a residence hall supervisor with a triple major, was also among the dead, according to press accounts from his home state of Georgia. Several students also feared their German professor Herr Jamie Bishop had died.

Multiple press accounts reported that Liviu Lebrescu, a 75-year-old Israeli professor who survived the Holocaust, was killed. Students said that Lebrescu, a mechanics and aeronautics professor who served as a national science advisor, held his classroom door shut to buy time for students who escaped through a window.

One IT manager called the university's response to the 7:15 a.m. residence hall shooting "old school." Virginia Tech security and police officials should get a task force together that includes young and technically savvy students who can tell the school how they want to be contacted in an emergency, said Jim Schmidt, a systems engineer for store systems at Sears Holdings Corp. "The college kids are more efficient and expedient than the old lines of communication the college attempted to use."

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