Virginia Tech massacre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place April 16, 2007 on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. In two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded many others before committing suicide. The massacre is the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off a school campus.
Cho, a senior English major at Virginia Tech, had previously been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. During much of his middle school and high school years, he received therapy and special education support. After graduating from high school, Cho enrolled at Virginia Tech. Due to federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech was not informed of Cho's previous diagnosis or the accommodations he had been granted at school. In 2005, Cho was accused of stalking two female students; after an investigation a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally ill and ordered him to attend treatment. At least one professor had also asked Cho to seek counseling.
The attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. It sparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations, privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. Television news organizations that aired portions of the killer's multimedia manifesto were criticized by victims' families, Virginia law enforcement officials, and the American Psychiatric Association.
The massacre prompted the state of Virginia to rapidly close legal loopholes that had previously allowed Cho, an individual adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns without detection by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years. The law strengthening the NICS was signed by President George W. Bush on January 5, 2008.
The Virginia Tech Review Panel, a state-appointed body assigned to review the incident, criticized Virginia Tech administrators for failing to take action that might have reduced the number of casualties. The panel's report also reviewed gun laws and pointed out gaps in mental health care as well as privacy laws that left Cho's deteriorating condition in college untreated.
Location Blacksburg, Virginia, United States
Coordinates 37°13′46″N 80°25′23″W / 37.22944°N 80.42306°W / 37.22944; -80.42306Coordinates: 37°13′46″N 80°25′23″W / 37.22944°N 80.42306°W / 37.22944; -80.42306
Date Monday, April 16, 2007
ca. 7:15 a.m. and ca. 9:40 a.m.–9:51 a.m. (EDT)
Attack type School shooting, mass murder, murder-suicide, massacre
Weapon(s) Glock 19, Walther P22
Death(s) 32 + the perpetrator
Perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho
Click here to return to the News and Updates homepage.