April 16, 2007 – The aftermath

Three years ago today, horror struck Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

We Remember…

At about 9:52 a.m., the killing is over. The killer shot himself in the head just as police reached the second floor. Investigators believe that the police shotgun blast alerted him to the arrival of the police. The killer’s shooting spree in Norris Hall lasted about 11 minutes. He killed 30 people in Norris Hall, and wounded 17 others. It is the worst mass killing by a single gunman in U.S. history.

The horror continues. The police work to clear the second floor of Norris Hall. Two tactical medics attached to the Emergency Response Teams, one medic from Virginia Tech Rescue and one from Blacksburg Rescue, are allowed to enter to start their initial triage. Police are carrying out victims and handing them off to waiting Rescue Squads, still unsure if there is a second shooter waiting inside. High winds have grounded rescue helicopters, meaning that the most seriously wounded victims must instead be transported 30-45 minutes by ground to the closest Level 1 trauma center in Roanoke, Virginia. False reports of gunshots throughout the rest of the day mean a continuation of the fear and psychological trauma for students and local residents.

In the hours and days following the shooting, makeshift memorials to those killed or injured began appearing in several locations on the campus. Many people placed flowers and items of remembrance at the base of the Drillfield observation podium in front of Burruss Hall. Later, members of Hokies United placed 32 pieces of Hokie Stone, each labeled with the name of a victim, in a semicircle in front of the Drillfield viewing stand. This makeshift memorial was later made permanent.

We Remember.

(Information for these posts came from Wikipedia and from the Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel. The killer’s name is deliberately omitted, and shall never pass my lips nor contaminate my keyboard, save for the strictest necessity. He shall remain nameless to all men and women of honor, his identity cursed, and forever denied the infamy he sought.)

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