Shooter Lived in Dormitory, Va. Tech President Says

ByABC News via via logo

April 17, 2007 — -- So many questions need to be answered about the shootings at Virginia Tech that killed 32 people.

Could the tragic massacre have been prevented? Did police wait too long to act? Were they aggressive enough? And why were students in the dark for so long?

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer this morning that there was still the possibility that there were two shooters in the separate campus attacks on Monday morning.

Steger said that the shooter who took his own life in the Norris Hall classroom building, where 30 other people were also killed, was a student of Asian descent who lived in a dormitory at Virginia Tech.

Steger referred to this person as the "second shooter."

"It appears that the second shooter was a resident in a dormitory," Steger said. "We don't have all of that confirmed but it appears he was an on-campus resident."

Sawyer asked whether there was more than one shooter involved.

"We don't know for sure. That's what we're trying to confirm," Steger said.

Steger said police had questioned a person of interest in the case.

"They have questioned them once and they'll probably continue to question the individual," he said.

Steger said that campus officials initially thought the first shooting, which left two people dead in West Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory, was part of a "murder-suicide or lover's quarrel," so they believed that the incident was confined to "those two people and that particular place."

"And we then closed down that dormitory immediately, surrounded it with security, cordoned off the road … and began to question witnesses to see what we could learn about what had gone on," Steger told Sawyer.

During the lockdown of West Ambler Johnston Hall, the shooter may have been locked down in that dorm with other students, Steger said.

He said that he did know the identity of the shooter but that investigators were still trying to piece together his history and details.

"The investigation is unfolding as we speak," he said.

"We should be getting the ballistics report this morning, and we'll make that public as soon as we can."

Some parents of Virginia Tech students have called for Steger to step down, saying that campus officials didn't act quickly enough to alert students about the shooting.

"I have no intention of stepping down," Steger told Sawyer.

He said that police responded to the first shooting within minutes, but that they thought the incident was confined to one building.

"The second shooting, no one predicted that was also going to happen that morning," Steger said. "So if you're talking about locking it down, what is it you're going to lock down? It's like closing a city. It doesn't happen instantaneously."

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