April 25, 2007

Cho Still Had Ammunition When He Committed Suicide

On Deadline is reporting that Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho still had additional ammunition with him when he died in an updated to a blog entry on the shooting timeline.

The shootings at Norris Hall lasted nine minutes, and it is now apparent that the massacre would not have last much longer in any event, as Cho shot himself just after police officers shot the lock off a first floor door of Norris Hall and entered the building.

The obvious inference I'm tempted to make is that Cho heard the police gunfire and decided to take his life as a result of the perimeter being breached, not because he was low on ammunition, and not because he was out of potential targets. He apparently wanted to successfully commit suicide, rather than face the possibility of being taken alive and having to face the consequences of his murder spree.

I donít know that the evidence supports these assumptions, but with no easily detectable motive or trigger for the largest mass shooting in American history, inferences and assumptions may be all we have.

Update: Over at Hot Air, AP makes a chilling speculation (my bold):

The theory right now is that he shot himself when he heard them shoot through their way through the front door of Norris Hall. Which makes the fact that VTech was a gun-free zone that much harder ó if he'd heard a gunshot in the building earlier in his rampage, he might have turned his own gun on himself sooner thinking it was the police.

There is of course no way to know if that is what would have transpired, and it is probably pointless to wonder how many of the 59 killed or wounded by Cho might not have been shot had he suspected that he was about to come under fire or had actual aimed shots directed his way, distracting him from his attack.

When I was in grad school, I suspected that several fellow students (mostly women) were occasionally armed, and knew for a fact one person was armed almost every day I saw him.

We, too, were a "gun free" school, but I felt a bit safer knowing that we weren't quite as gun free as the administration would have liked.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 25, 2007 01:47 PM

Why bother checking with other sources when Jamail's already told you everything you need to know? I excerpted and linked.

Posted by: Bill Faith at April 26, 2007 03:08 AM

I've read the Washington post's account of the shooting along with a few others. I distinctly remember reports that the shooting went on for about 21 minutes or even longer. Based on eyewitness accounts. There was a 911 call but only after the attack had been well in progress.
I'm not sure how the police came up with 9 minutes.
Eyewitness accounts having Cho returning to classrooms pushing on doors then shooting through them. He also returned to classrooms and methodically
shot his victims again.
I think the police are trying to put a spin on the time frame.

Posted by: NortonPete at April 26, 2007 06:44 AM

USAToday had this:
Derek O'Dell, 20, a biology major from Roanoke, said the gunman entered his classroom at Norris Hall, opened fire with a handgun, then calmly reloaded and fired another eight or 10 rounds.

O'Dell said he was injured in the upper arm during the melee. Montgomery Regional Hospital confirmed that O'Dell was listed among those treated for injuries.

O'Dell said he was in a German class with about 15 other students and a professor about 9:30 a.m. when the gunmen burst into the room. He said everyone dived for cover. About 12 people in the room were shot, he said.

And the NYTimes and other sources including the police say the 911 call for Norris Hall came in at 9:45. Thats when they began to respond.
--At 9:45, police got another 911 call about shootings at Norris Hall, just as university officials were meeting to discuss the first shootings.
So 21 minutes makes a lot more sense.

Posted by: NortonPete at April 26, 2007 07:48 AM

More conflicting times but still it points to a much longer time then 9 minutes. This has a 9:20 start. and the 9:45 time is documented.

From a NY Post article. Andrea Peyser april 17, 2007. ( the link is a mile long )
The German class started on schedule, at 9:05 a.m. What Derek did not know was that the deranged man had been running loose at Virginia Tech for two solid hours.

He fired his first shots, in a dormitory, at 7:15. Nobody made a big deal about it, and classes went on as usual. Every student on campus had a target on his back.

Derek, a biology major whose family lives in Virginia, heard the maniac before he saw him - when about 20 shots went off in the classroom next door. Only now does it all make sense.

Then, without fanfare or warning, at about 9:20 a.m., the shooter simply strolled into Derek's classroom.

Pop! Just like that, he murdered the student next to Derek.

Posted by: NortonPete at April 26, 2007 11:10 AM