Statement from Va. Tech president Charles Steger

Updated: April 17, 2007, 1:38 AM ET
Associated Press

The following is a statement issued by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger on Monday afternoon after the fatal shootings in Blacksburg, Va.

Va. Tech Tragedy
 Va. Tech school shooting
In the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, officials at Virginia Tech say at least 33 are dead and more are wounded after a gunman opened fire on campus. ABCNews.com
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Well, today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions. There were two shootings which occurred on campus. In each case there were fatalities. The university is shocked and indeed horrified that this would befall us, and I want to extend my deepest and most sincere and profound sympathy to the families of these victims, which include our students.

We are currently in the process of notifying next of kin. The Virginia Tech police are being assisted by numerous other jurisdictions including Montgomery County. Crime scenes are being investigated by the university police, the FBI and the state police.

We continue to work to identify the victims that have been impacted by this tragedy. I cannot begin to convey my own personal sense of loss over this senseless and incomprehensible heinous act. The university will immediately set up counseling centers. So far, centers have been identified in Ambler Johnston and the Cook counseling center to work with our campus community and their families.

Now here are some of the facts as we know them. At about 7:15 this morning, a 911 call came to the university police department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about two hours later, the university received reports of a shooting in Norris Hall. The police immediately responded.

The shooter in Norris Hall is deceased. There are multiple fatalities. The number of fatalities has not been confirmed. Victims have been transported to various hospitals in the immediate area in the region to receive emergency treatment. And we will proceed to contact the next of kin as the victims' identities are available. All classes are canceled and the university is closed for the remainder of the day.

The university will open tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., but classes will be canceled on Tuesday. The police are currently staging the release of people from campus buildings. Families wishing to reunite with their students are suggested to meet at the Inn at Virginia Tech, the building that we're in today. Were making plans for a convocation tomorrow at noon in Cassell Coliseum for the university to come together to begin the healing process from this terrible tragedy.

That ends my prepared comments.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press