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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Massacre at Virginia Tech University
Aired April 16, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening again from the stunned campus of Virginia Tech University. Scene of vigils tonight. People coming together trying to make sense of what happened on their campus earlier today.
The single worst mass shooting in American history. 33 dead including a gunman. Police not yet saying though if he was the only gunman.
Two killed in a dormitory, West Ambler Johnston Hall, known as A.J., here on the sprawling 2,600-acre campus.
Then about two hours later gunfire in Norris Hall. The body count there -- 31, including the shooter.
Police here -- people here want to know, why didn't the warning go out after the first shooting, even though a killer was still at large? We'll explore that in the hour ahead.
First, though, how it all unfolded minute by minute.
KING (voice-over): The shaky images captured on a student's cell phone were among the first pictures from today's deadly attacks.
JAMAL ALBARGHOUTI, SHOT CELL PHONE VIDEO: When I saw a policeman taking off his gun and started to looking at -- started looking for a target to shoot, it was then when I decided to use my camera.
KING: The first of two attacks on Virginia Tech's campus today began early this morning at this coed dormitory.
CHARLES STEGER, VIRGINIA TECH PRESIDENT: 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.
KING: Police say they began sweeping the building where two people were killed in a dorm room, but the shooter was still at large. And yet that news was not made public. Students and others were not made aware of that incident. To them, it was business as usual.
CHIEF WENDELL FLINCHUM, VIRGINIA TECH POLICE: The information we had on the first incident led us to make the decision that it was an isolated event to that building and a decision was made not to cancel classes at time. KING: Then suddenly two hours later and nearly a half mile across the sprawling campus, more gunshots. This time coming from the Norris Hall engineering building.
VOICE OF JOSH WARGO, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: It was at least 30 to 40.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
WARGO: We -- I jumped outside and I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know what to do. And then I think I heard one come through a window pane and I heard glass and we ran into a neighboring building. But they didn't stop for almost two or three minutes.
KING: 9:26 a.m., a campus-wide e-mail goes out to students notifying them of the first shooting that had occurred more than two hours earlier.
VOICE OF MADISON VAN DUYNE, VIRGINIA TECH SOPHOMORE: Right after we got that e-mail we heard five shots on campus and we could hear the emergency speaker system. So we all got down underneath the desks and moved way from the windows.
KING: 9:50 a.m., 24 minutes after its first campus wide e-mail and more than two hours after the original and still unsolved shooting incident, the university sends a second e-mail to students warning of a gunman on the loose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Students there are being updated through the Web site right now and right on that front page of their Web site it does have the update which is telling students right now to stay in their building, stay where they are, until further notice and stay away from all windows.
KING: In Norris Hall, for many, the warning was too late. Students describe the scene as mayhem.
VOICE OF MATT WALDON, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: People came pouring out the door with their hands up and they were screaming and stuff like that. And I guess two kids had jumped out of the windows.
KING: 10:17 a.m., a third e-mail goes out ordering a campus lockdown.
VAN DUYNE: I am in a classroom which is across the campus from where the shooting had occurred and we are all in lockdown. Most of the students are sitting on the floor, away from all of the windows, and we're just trying to be as safe as possible.
KING: Eventually police storm Norris Hall.
STEGER: Upon arrival to Norris the officers found the front doors barricaded. Within a minute the officers breached the doors, which had been chained shut from the inside.
Once inside the building the officers heard gunshots. They followed the succession of gunshots to the second floor. Just as officers reached the second floor, the gunshots stopped. The officers discovered the gunman who had taken his own life.
KING: Witnesses describe the Norris Hall gunman as a young Asian man.
12:22 p.m., university officials announce that the campus has been secured, but the magnitude of the tragedy was just becoming clear.
FLINCHUM: We have a ballpark figure on fatalities. It's at least 20 fatalities.
KING: And yet, as the day wore on, the death toll would only grow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not only the deadliest shooting on a school campus, it is indeed the deadliest shooting incident in the history of the United States.
STEGER: It is now confirmed that we have 31 deaths from the Norris Hall, including the gunman; 15 other victims are being treated at local hospitals in the Roanoke and New River Valleys. There are two confirmed deaths from the shooting in shooting in Ambler Johnston dormitory in addition to the 31 at Norris Hall.
KING: A staggering loss of life that left the university community wondering, why?
MICHAEL NELSON, STUDENT: It seems really senseless and I -- it's really hard to just think about it, why, you know, all of these people have to die for no reason.
KING (on camera): Numbness, sadness, outrage as well on the sprawling campus tonight. Some 25,000 students go here at Virginia Tech, some 2,600 acres on this campus.
Also a great deal of anxiety because as of tonight the university police have not ruled out a second shooter. That's because they have yet to say for sure these two shootings are connected.
Also they've been talking to what they call a person of interest in the first incident, the shooting at 7:15 this morning. If that sounds confusing, it is.
But we've got CNN's Brianna Keilar here with us in the windy conditions to help us sort it out.
A second briefing tonight, police saying they cannot definitively connect the two shootings.
This person of interest, what do we know?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This person of interest comes from the first shooting 7:15 a.m. What police did say today in the latest briefing was that they identified a person of interest. They've spoken with this person. This person remains a person of interest. And they are not in police custody.
Now this becomes very confusing because the understanding from the beginning was that these two crime scenes were linked. That seems to be more unclear at this point because police also telling us this evening that they have preliminarily identified that gunman who apparently -- it appears shot 31 people, including himself, in Norris Hall, across campus from that dorm shooting, that they have preliminarily identified him, but they're not releasing that information to the media.
So here comes the question, is there two gunmen? That's really the question at this point. There really -- police, Virginia Tech police, not saying one way or the other. But if you listened earlier to one of the earlier news conferences, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said no, they didn't believe there was another suspect out there.
At the last press conference he said he didn't commit to that no there isn't answer. And of course, students who I've spoken with really seem to think that these two crime scenes are linked, that this is the work of one gunman.
KING: But many, many questions for the police department. The investigators and much conversation on campus, some of it from people who say there are witnesses, some of it clearly rumors.
If you talk to students on campus as I did this afternoon, they are convinced the shooter, at least in Norris Hall, was a student. Are police willing to say that?
KEILAR: At this point we are not aware of the identification. Initially we were told by police he had no identification on his person. And so they wouldn't commit to it at that point.
Now they say they have preliminarily identified him, but they're not releasing that information to us.
KING: And while the police say they can't connect the shootings definitively as yet, one of the big questions on campus is if you had at least two people shot this morning at 7:15 a.m. in a dormitory and you did not have that shooter under arrest, you believe the shooter to still be at large, a gunman at large, why not shut down the campus? Many students asking that question tonight. Are they asking it with outrage?
KEILAR: They are. They're upset. I spoke with one student who said that's really what he's hearing from a lot of his fellow students. Why if at 7:15 there was a shooting, did it take until 9:26, before the first e-mail went out warning students of the fact that there had been a shooting on campus?
Now police standing by that, they say they believe that first shooting in the dorm was domestic in nature, that it was isolated. And they say they had reason to believe that the shooter had left campus.
So -- but still students very upset because that e-mail went out at 9:26 a.m. It was less than 20 minutes later when the first 911 call came in reporting those gunshots at Norris Hall. And students say they weren't given time to be vigilant and they certainly would wish that authorities had shut down the campus.
KING: Many, many questions. How many shooters? What was the motive? Good questions as well for the conduct of the police department.
Brianna Keilar, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
We're going to bring in our Deborah Feyerick, also on the campus here tonight, continuing her reporting.
Deb, on the campus all afternoon. As you know, many questions. Give us the latest on your reporting tonight.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, what we can tell you is that the names of the victims appear to be seeping out. We have seen a number of students who are running to a building just on the other side of this one and they are saying that they are finding out who, in fact, was shot inside Norris Hall.
They say that the parents are in part of the building. There is a counselor there, they're consoling them. But a number of students we've seen on campus now breaking down into tears because the names are starting to come out.
KING: And the university's posture in terms of publicly releasing those names is waiting for the families to be positively identified.
As you see the students tonight and the families coming on campus, obviously we spent a lot of time talking about the details of the investigation, the nitty-gritty of that. There's a much more human, raw, emotional story unfolding here tonight.
FEYERICK: Oh, absolutely. There was one young man who we saw. He was just sitting at the base of a tree. He had been inside of the building. He was crying. And he was with the parents of a girl who was missing. And I said, is she your girlfriend? He said she's the girl that I love and he doesn't know where she is. He knows that she was inside Norris Hall when the shooting occurred. Because the gunman went to multiple rooms, there's just a question of who was shot, in which room, in which area. And so that's what's being sorted out right now.
But we also saw another young student. He, too, was crying. He said that he heard that Virginia State Police went to the home of a friend of his to notify the parents that the daughter was among the victims. They were here, they had checked all of the local hospitals trying to get some word as to whether in fact she was one of the dead, and it does appear that she was one of the victims. So again, all of this now being pieced out. And when we get the names, we don't know, but the names are beginning to filter out because they're missing.
KING: And it's a close-knit community here on campus.
Deb Feyerick, helping us with the emotional, human toll.
Deb, thank you very much.
Now police have not released any of the victims' identities as yet.
But CNN has learned that one of the deceased is Ryan Clark. He was a student here at Virginia Tech. He was one of the two people shot and killed in the earlier shoot at 7:15 a.m. this morning in a dormitory.
This is understandably a time on campus for many people to come together -- students, friends and loved ones.
Deb Feyerick, as we just told you, spent the evening visiting with parents here at the inn on campus. We're trying to get much more information on that.
There's confusion on campus as well. So much more information we need to get questions for you tonight, what happened in this investigation? How are the families being told? Are the students getting information they need?
We do know classes are canceled tomorrow. There will be a service here on campus tomorrow. We're told tonight to expect not only the students, some families, dignitaries including most likely the president on campus, as well.
But many more questions for us tonight. We will continue to track them.
First though, we take a quick break. Be right back with more of this special edition of 360 "Massacre on the Virginia Tech Campus." Please stay with us.
Of the 65 episodes of school violence since 1927, only two of the assailants were women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today. The exact total has not yet been confirmed, but it appears that more than 30 people were killed and many more were wounded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: President Bush speaking there earlier today at the White House.
And again, we are told by administration officials as well as university officials that the president most likely will be here on campus tomorrow when there will be a service, that service part of the mourning and the grieving and the honoring of those slain in the horrific massacre today. That part of the human toll of this story.
There is a law enforcement side as well. The key question tonight, was there one shooter or two? Who was the shooter who gunned down 30 people in Norris Hall, an engineering classroom building here on campus?
The police tonight on campus saying they have preliminarily identified that shooter, the one responsible for at least 30 deaths, but they are not releasing any of that information to the public as yet.
But some of our sources are talking to CNN. Some of the students and others on this campus who encountered this deadly killer today are talking as well.
Helping us piece all of that together, CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A witness described the killer as a young Asian man who was wearing a short sleeved tan shirt and a black ammunition vest that made him look, according to one witness, almost like a Boy Scout. He moved quietly from room to room, taking lives everywhere he went.
ERIN SHEEHAN, WITNESS: He just stepped within five feet of the door and just started firing. He seemed very thorough about it. Getting almost everyone down or -- I'm trying to be dead.
MATTINGLY: Apparently familiar with the building where he inflicted so much pain, the killer chained at least two doors, effectively blocking key exits from the building.
After his spree, the killer took his own life. Authorities are unwilling yet to say he was a student.
FLINCHUM: We have a preliminary ID that I'm not prepared to release yet, but the investigation is ongoing.
MATTINGLY: A law enforcement source close to the investigation tells CNN two weapons were recovered. Two handguns, one .22 caliber, one .9 millimeter. Two weapons in the wrong hands that sent a campus of 26,000 into a panic. JOSEPH NORMAN, STUDENT: It was like seeing Columbine all over again when I was in eighth grade, but just on a larger scale. It was so surreal being in the class and hearing what sounded like a gunshot outside and just not knowing what was going on.
KARINA PORUSHKEVICH, STUDENT: It was very, very saddening. I was crying. I couldn't reach my family because they turn -- like the phones were off, everything was off.
MATTINGLY: According to people who saw him and lived through his rampage, the killer seemed to lack focus, leaving bodies in multiple locations throughout a busy academic building. But his purpose was clear, to kill as many people as he could.
KING: David Mattingly joining us live now.
David, as they try to piece together this mystery of who was this shooter, assuming one shooter, at least the shooter in Norris Hall. Many on campus here seem to believe that perhaps a student, given his familiarity with the building.
MATTINGLY (on camera): All indications are this was someone at the very least who was very familiar with this campus. This was a very busy part of the campus. This was a very busy academic building. Students normally would come and go throughout the day.
This had to be someone who had access to that building, who knew how that operated and knew that if he locked those particular doors with the chain, that he would be able to block students in who were trying to escape.
He knew a lot about this building, very likely some believe, a student.
KING: David Mattingly, for us continuing to track this investigation.
David, thank you very much.
Now, of course, some of the people we're talking to on campus tonight are some of the students who were up close to all the shooting today.
Matthew Waldron is one of those students. He is a student here at Virginia Tech. He was outside Norris Hall, walking to class when the shootings happened.
Matthew Waldron joins me now.
Matthew, please step on in. So you're out side Norris Hall this morning in the 9:00 hour?
MATTHEW WALDRON, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: Yes, it's around like between 9:40 and 9:45. And I was walking with -- had my iPod on and I didn't hear the shots, but the people that were walking with me, they kind of stepped back and I then took my headphones off. And I was like, what's going on? And they said we just heard shots.
So they -- all of a sudden I saw a policeman starting coming down the sidewalk and a professor yelled from the building right next to me in Holden Hall and said everybody get inside.
So we fled inside. And inside were two kids that had jumped out the window of Norris. One had a broken ankle and the other girl was pretty shaken up.
And then you can see from the back windows of Holden where I was, you could see all the policemen posted up with their guns, aiming their guns up towards the top floor of Norris.
And then about two minutes later, all the kids came out with their hands up. And there was about 150 of them or so just pouring out of the there, screaming and crazy and darting across the drill field.
KING: So when you encountered the students inside, who had jumped out the window, you say shook up. One of them had an injured leg. Did you talk to them at all about what they saw?
WALDRON: No. The one -- the one boy was just like, he was just like in total pain. He was just going down -- they were carrying him down the stairs, getting ready to go to the ambulance. The other girl was just laying on the ground. She said she was OK, but you could tell that she was shooken up and had like dirt marks from where she had fell and stuff like that. So they had to take precautions with her.
KING: And you see the policeman -- I'm pointing this way. It's dark, but Norris Hall is over here on the campus. You see the police surrounding the building and the students come out with their hands up.
WALDRON: Yes, sir.
KING: To the best of your knowledge, did you see police storm into the building or they just had the building surrounded?
WALDRON: No, no, they just had it surrounded. There was guys posted by the trees and the bushes and there was guys -- the S.W.A.T. team with the helmets and stuff like that, waiting right by the door when the kids were filing out. So obviously they released them and then they released us and told us to get running. And that was the scariest part when we were running across the drill field, not knowing if there was more people out there who were going to shoot you in the drill field or what it was. It was pretty scary.
KING: You mention pretty scary. One of the big questions on campus is, did the campus security, the police department, other security, the administration on campus, did they act appropriately, knowing that on this side of the campus, over here at the A.J. dorm, there had been a shooting at 7:15 this morning. When you were walking across the campus and approaching Norris, where this massacre was taking place, at that point were you aware there had been a shooting an campus earlier in the morning?
WALDRON: No, I had not been aware until that kid told me that there were shootings, he heard shots, that was walking with me. And there was no -- I had no indication that there was anything going on in the morning at A.J.
KING: Well, do you think you should have? Or do you think you should have been allowed to be roaming freely on campus when there had been an earlier shooting on campus and that gunman was still at large?
WALDRON: I mean I don't think it was very, very safe, but I mean, I think at the time the chief of police and the president of the university, they took precautions what they thought was necessary and I guess we had to go with what their decisions were, so we got to agree with them.
KING: Now you talk about the pretty scary moment as you're outside Norris Hall as all this is unfolding. Think about it, now to the best of your recollection, when you -- you saw students running out. Your friends heard some gunshots. You took off your ear phones. Did you hear any yourself?
WALDRON: No, I heard no gunshots. That's why I for a second I was puzzled, like what's going on? And then they told me. And then the guy -- the professor that was yelling out the building said there was gunshots in the quad up behind there. And it was just -- then it kind of hits you. I mean, you're still in shock, but it was like, whoa, this is the real deal going on.
KING: And the students who -- the students who come out with hands up, are they running, are they screaming, are they filing orderly?
WALDRON: Yes, all of those. They were running, running and screaming at the same time. And they just, they just made a dash for it.
KING: Matthew Waldron, thank you for helping us try to understand this.
WALDRON: Thank you and God bless.
KING: No, thank you. Take care, sir.
CNN's Gary Tuchman now joins me. He's from Blacksburg also, standing outside one of the hospitals here where the wounded are being treated tonight.
Gary, what's the latest?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there's a sad and depressing calm at this hospital right now after a frenzied and frightening morning, with ambulances just pulling up one after another. Seventeen people were brought to this hospital, the Montgomery Regional Hospital, which is about 15 minutes south of where you're standing right now, John, at Virginia Tech.
Of those 17 people who were brought here, one was pronounced dead on arrival. Another three are currently in critical condition. Six in stable condition. Five have been discharged --that's the good news. And two others have been transferred.
As far as how critical, the people in critical condition are right now, how severely critical, they are not telling us, the authorities inside, to protect the confidentiality of the patients. They're keeping...
KING: Right now it's a very quiet time. We have been told that there will no announcements about the conditions of the patients until tomorrow morning.
Now, a short time ago we talked with a senior Virginia Tech, a friend of one of the people inside the hospital. They have been allowing friends to go inside to talk with their friends. And this guy, by the name of Bob Allison, was telling us about his friend Kevin who's inside. He said his friend Kevin was in German class. He was shot twice, two times in the leg. He blacked out after the second time he was shot. And he told us that at one point about two hours after he got here, Kevin's parents came in here to visit him.
BOB ALLISON, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: He was pale, but he was happy. You couldn't -- you couldn't put anything past him. He was in a good mood.
TUCHMAN: Does he know just how bad this turned out to be for so many other students?
ALLISON: We haven't really talked to him about how big it got.
TUCHMAN: Did anyone tell you not to mention that to him?
ALLISON: No. I just -- I felt that it might not be a good thing to tell him just how many other people were affected and just how big this thing got until at least he gotten a little sleep and at least he recovered a bit.
TUCHMAN: With us right now is Gary Johansson (ph). He's a bus driver for the town of Blacksburg. And he was actually driving his bus next to the classroom building where the shots rang out. He heard the shots and he helped rescue somebody. A man who had jumped out of the classroom was brought to this hospital, correct?
GARY JOHANSSON (ph), BUS DRIVER: Correct. He -- another student had helped him down from Norris, which sits adjacent to Burris. And when I pulled up, it was actually very quiet. You wouldn't have known anything was going on. There was people outside waiting for the bus. Burris is a major stop point for the buses.
TUCHMAN: OK, but that shows that all the injuries here aren't from gunshots. This man was -- the student was purely injured by jumping out of the second floor window, correct?
JOHANSSON (ph): Correct. When we opened the door, he -- the student yelled at me, that this guy possibly had a broken leg and he needed to get to the hospital. And the student looked up at me and he said they're shooting at Norris.
TUCHMAN: What was it like hearing these gunshots with all the passengers on your bus -- students and members of the public?
JOHANSSON (ph): Never heard anything like that in my life. It was actually very surreal. When I got out there, to help him out, when we got out onto the sidewalk, that's when the shots started ringing out, and it was multiple shots, single shots, and people -- some people were just standing around, not really sure what to do, what was going on. So we just went ahead and grabbed him, gathered him and put him on our bus, made him get on our bus.
TUCHMAN: Scary, though?
JOHANSSON (ph): Very scary. I mean, this is small town America here. Things like that -- unfortunately, we can't say anymore -- but things like that usually don't happen in a small town like this. It's a beautiful campus. It's the kind of town where you -- your grandma and your grandpa retire to.
TUCHMAN: Gary, thanks for talking with us. We appreciate it.
JOHANSSON (ph): I appreciate it. Thank you, guys.
I just wanted to say that the gentleman -- the reason I came up here, the gentleman that I brought here is in stable condition and he's going to be OK. And I just wanted to extend our prayers on the behalf of the town of Blacksburg and Blacksburg Transit and Virginia Tech, to all the families of the victims.
TUCHMAN: Gary, thank you very much.
And Gary said an important thing. There are six people in stable condition right now. And as I said, John, we'll get an updated report tomorrow morning, but nothing until then about the conditions of the other patients. Back to you.
KING: And Gary, we certainly hope in the morning we get better news about those three still in critical condition.
Gary Tuchman, reminding us there the human toll of this story continues. Gary will continue his reporting.
And Gary, one of a remarkable team of CNN reporters, producers, photojournalists and others who are trying to cover this story from all the angles. You can logon to CNN.com for much more on this developing story. You'll find video, other details of the reporting here on campus, photos as well, along with eyewitness accounts. And all updated, of course, around the clock. And you can find it, of course, as always at CNN.com or download the number one news and information podcast on Itunes. That, of course, the 360 podcast. That's at the Itunes store.
Stay with us. Ahead on 360, more on the medical miracles being performed in the hospitals Gary just mentioned. 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on what it takes to save a life, then another, then another.
Plus, we'll take you through the campus, a step by step tour of how the shooting spree unfolded, when 360 continues.
KING: Treating so many gunshot wounds and other injuries at once of course is an enormous challenge. Joining me now to help us understand all of this is CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John.
KING: ... walk us through what happens, what is the emergency response in a crisis such as this one?
GUPTA: Well, you know, there's a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, before the health care personnel actually get on the scene, they have got to make sure the area is safe so no further casualties will take place. After that takes place, basically you start your triage at the site. And it can be -- it can be gruesome, John, as you might imagine.
You quickly have to determine who is deceased, who's in critical condition, who is seriously injured, and who has minor injuries. And then you almost set up a command central right there on-site to basically start calling hospitals and saying, we have so many patients with the following injuries, the following pattern of injuries, what do you have available? What do you have available in terms of E.R. beds, in terms of operating rooms, in terms of blood? Whatever they might need.
And this just takes place immediately at the site basically dispersing these patients throughout the hospitals that are available. The hospitals also getting prepared, as you might imagine, John, saying, OK, cancel all elective cases, we're not going to have any elective cases.
Start mobilizing as many resource as possible, this is what takes place. But, John, this is a lot of patients. No matter how many drills you go through, this is a lot of patience for any hospitals no matter how big it is, John.
KING: And you mentioned, Sanjay, the hospitals have to decide how much they can handle, how fast they can handle it, perhaps canceling some of the elective things copping in that day. Is there much of a difference? They get news that there is such a large-scale emergency. Is there much of a difference, say, this happening here in very rural Blacksburg, Virginia, as opposed to say where you are in Atlanta, Georgia? GUPTA: Yes, I would have to say so. It's a good question. You remember, not that long ago we had that bus crash here with all of the baseball players and you're dealing with one of the largest trauma centers in the southeastern part of the country here in Atlanta.
This is what it's built for, it's what it's designed for, to take care of mass casualty situations like this. Where you are now I can't imagine they see this number of casualties let alone the sort of casualties, the nature of the injuries here, penetrating injuries, gunshot wounds, that is not something you see very often in smaller, rural towns at least not in large numbers.
Typically they take care of car accidents and what we call blunt trauma. So it's different, both by scale and by nature of the injuries as well, John.
KING: And what are the special challenges, not only of mass casualties but as you noted, the gunshot wounds, Sanjay? And I ask specifically in the context, Gary Tuckman is at one hospital, we hear three patients still in critical condition tonight. Is there anything to be read from that in terms of hours and hours and hours after the shooting if a patient is still in critical condition, does that tell you anything, one way or the other?
GUPTA: You know, it is concerning, that is for sure. You talk about the different places someone might actually suffer a gunshot wound to the chest or the abdomen, for example. You can have significant bleeding when you have -- well, a large organ with the abdomen actually hit.
That can bleed, it can bleed slowly. It can take a long time to stop, sometimes they require one operation followed by another and another. So you know, sort of the doctors have to be very, very vigilant with these patients. Obviously a gunshot wound to the head could require more immediate attention, someone may have difficulties with their breathing as a result of their being in a state of unconsciousness.
So there is lots of things. It's a very, very dynamic situation. By nature of the fact that they're critical, that doesn't surprise me. It probably means that they're in an intensive care unit and that their vital signed, their heart rate, their blood pressure, their ability to breathe on their is in a little bit of a state of flux still.
It's not perfectly stable which is why they're still considered in critical condition. This can take -- this can go on for a few days still, John, as they have to catch up with the amount of blood that was lost and try and stabilize the patients. That can take some time.
KING: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, the best in the business helping us understand this tonight. Sanjay, thank you very much.
Today's massacre unfolded on opposite sides of this sprawling Virginia Tech campus. The two murder sites a half mile apart. For a closer look at that, here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A number of events happened on this campus which may or may not be related to each other. And we have to look first back at the beginning of the month when a bomb threat was called into this large building near the front of campus. Security agents came in, they looked the place over, they closed the road next to it. They found nothing.
And so they went back to more or less business as usual, until 10 days later on Friday the 13th when another bomb threat came in, and this time, three buildings had to be closed and carefully searched. And again, they found nothing.
So, once again they went back to business as usual. Are these related to the events of today? We don't know. It's a fairly big campus. There are more than 100 buildings out here, more than 25,000 students. It goes back more than a hundred years as a university.
So, they have encountered many things like this over the years. There is no idea whether or not they're all related. But then this morning, over here, in this part of the campus, that's where they have the double shooting at about 7:15 or so.
Authorities moved in, they believed that it was an isolated incident, or that's what they tell us, and they have no idea what happened after they moved in here to the gunman because they were looking for this person but then two hours later, that's when the big shooting happened over here in this building.
It's smaller than the other buildings where the bomb threats were called into. And we still don't know if there's any direct relationship between them, but certainly authorities are looking at all of these events around campus, over a series of weeks to see if in fact it all led up to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa!
KING: Still ahead, students here remembering their classmates. Their stories when 360 continues.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A shooter came in and shot almost the whole class, dressed sort of strangely. He came in eventually later and he just stepped within five feet of the door and just started firing. I pretended to be dead, just on the ground. And then he left for about 30 seconds, came back in, did almost exactly the same thing. So I guess he heard us still talking. At least when we left, only four of us left, everyone else was unconscious, either dead or wounded seriously. It was very silent, as he fired. I've seen some most morbid things I'd ever seen in there, definitely covered in blood.
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KING: A Virginia Tech student there speaking out earlier today. CNN's Jeanne Meserve has been on campus all day. She joins us now with more at a gathering of students here on campus tonight -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There is this evening a vigil going on in the shadow of the War Memorial here. But before we ventured over that to that we walked past Norris Hall which is of course where the shootings took place today.
Still very much a crime scene. There are a lot of police vehicles parked outside. One can see through the windows. The police working inside that building. Apparently still collecting evidence from what must be a tremendously complicated crime scene with the number of fatalities and woundings that took place in that building this afternoon.
And from there we walked on down the hill. There is a War Memorial here on the campus and it is a War Memorial where each member of the Virginia Tech community who falls in battle is immortalized. Now in the shadow of that memorial, there is another one, a makeshift memorial.
This a giant VT, the Virginia Tech logo. There are students over there simply looking at it, some of them signing their names, giving thoughts, also signing a book of remembrance.
Mia Ortega is one of the people over there tonight. She knew Ryan Clark. Ryan Clark is the resident assistant who was killed earlier today by the gunman. And she spoke to us about what she put on that memorial.
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MIA ORTEGA, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: I'm wrote, "love never dies," and circled a heart around it and I signed my name.
MESERVE: Why did you write that?
ORTEGA: Because I believe it. I believe that even though Ryan may not be with us anymore, that his love for this campus and his friends, everybody here, it's still going to be with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: And Ryan Clark, she said, was a very energetic guy and quite a leader in this community. She said in addition to being a R.A., he also was a member of the marching band here on campus and also was a member of the service organization. A lot of very upset students here, as you can just imagine here tonight.
KING: A large campus and a large student body. But has a small community feel to it.
MERSERVE: Well, you know, there's a tremendous loyalty to the school, is what I've been struck by. These kids identify themselves as Hokies, some of them most concerned about the reputation that they're afraid this school will have. All of them expressing deep love for this school.
I did see some kids with suitcases today, clearly they were leaving town at least on the short term. But some of the others who I spoke to at this gathering tonight over on the drill field, they said they had no intention of leaving. They were staying here at this school and they were just -- wanted to be with one another to remember what they could about these students who lost their lives today.
KING: CNN's Jeanne Meserve, Jeanne, thank you very much. Thank you. And naturally there are a lot of unanswered questions concerning today's shooting here across this campus. Tonight after the break, we'll look at some of the toughest questions. Plus, Anderson's one- on-one interview with a school shooter, what it may reveal about today's tragedy. That, when 360 continues.
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CHARLES STEGER, PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA TECH: I want to repeat my horror and disbelief and profound sorer at the events of today. People from around the world have expressed their shock and their sorrow, and endless sadness that has transpired. I'm really at a loss for words to explain or to understand the carnage that has visited our campus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Charles Steger, the president of Virginia Tech, speaking earlier today, relaying the sadness and the uncertainty on this campus, what happened, of course, today, defies explanation. It is hard to imagine any motive that would cause someone to kill so many people.
More than 12 hours after the last bullet was fired there are far more questions on this campus than answers.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To figure out what happened on the Virginia Tech early Monday morning, investigators may have to look to the past for answers. Back to when the bomb threats began, at least two bomb threats in the last two weeks. Question number one, who called in the bomb threats that forced authorities to shut down three different buildings? Police say they are trying to determine if the threats are linked to today's shootings.
Question number two, are two shootings on campus connected?
WENDELL FLINCHUM, VIRGINIA TECH POLICE: That's not what I'm saying, there's someone still out there, I'm not saying there is not. We're trying to determine whether the two incidents are connected.
KAYE (on camera): Apparently, still unclear, which brings us question number three, why wasn't campus immediately locked down after the first shooting? Was it because police thought the gunman left the campus or was it because they thought it was a domestic dispute that had ended badly? And if it was a domestic dispute, was it the killer's girlfriend? And is she one of the victims?
(voice-over): Question number four, did the gunman act alone?
FLINCHUM: We're still actively investigating that first incident. I didn't say we weren't looking for anyone, we're actively investigating. You can take that to say that we are looking for someone. We're working very, very hard to make sure this -- both incidents are related or are not related. And that's the focus right now is to determine that.
KAYE: Question number five, what was the gunman's motive? What would drive him to kill more than 30 people?
Question number six, how was a lone gunman able to kill dozens before campus police were even able to reach him?
Question number seven, if it was the same gunman at both campus shootings, how did he manage to get across campus with two weapons, and wearing a vest one witness said, made him look like a boy scout?
Question number eight, where did the killer get his guns?
Question number nine, what kind of training does campus security have, and will that be improved?
Finally, question number 10, how long will it take investigators to answer all of our questions?
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
KING: Still ahead, as we try to piece together this horrific massacre, what goes on inside the mind of a school shooter? Anderson finds out, his interview with a high school killer when 360 continues.
KING: If there could be only one question on this campus tonight, it would be why? Why would someone indiscriminately kill more than 30 people in a massacre here on campus? Well, we may never know exactly what was going on inside the mind of the shooter here at Virginia Tech.
His own death means there will be no interrogation, no answers that so many people so rightly deserve. It's hard to understand why someone would open fire on a school. Earlier, though, Anderson did get some perspective from a school shooter himself. A decade ago, 16- year-old Evan Ramsey opened fire at his high school in Bethel, Alaska, killing a student and principal. He is now serving a 210-year prison sentence in Arizona.
Here's his story as he tells it to Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN AHCHOR: Let's just start from the day, how long in -- when did you start planning it? How long in advance of the shooting did you actually seriously start planning it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About two weeks.
COOPER: What was the initial thought? When you first thought of it, what was the idea?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told myself, I have to do something to get everybody to leave me alone. The first thought that came to mind, I took it and ran with it.
COOPER: To leave you alone because they had been picking on you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COOPER: How were they picking on you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got beat up. I've been spit on. I've been called names. I've had things thrown at me.
COOPER: So the morning it happened you got up, what was that -- what went through your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things I told myself is that this is where it all ends. This is where people picking on me stops. Nobody will have anything bad to say about me anymore. All of my problems will go away.
COOPER: Did you really think would end, your problems?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did. Back then I would have been willing to bet all the money I would ever make in my whole lifetime that that was when my problems were going to end.
COOPER: When you walked into school in the morning with that gun, did you have a list in your head of who you wanted to get, who you wanted to kill? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a list of people that I wanted to shoot at. Keep in mind that I didn't understand how life worked at the time. I didn't know that when you shoot somebody they don't just get back up.
COOPER: What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not understand that if I -- like using myself and you as an example, if I pull out a gun and shoot you, there's a good chance that you're not getting back up. You're going to bleed to death and die either right there or on the way to the hospital. It -- that part of reality didn't click for whatever reason.
COOPER: And I think it's just probably hard for some people to believe that you didn't know, you know, dead is dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I based a lot of my knowledge solely on video games. You shoot a guy and do him and he gets back up. Got to shoot the things in "Doom" eight or nine times before it dies. And I went with that concept from the video game and added it to life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people can see that as a cop-out but they don't stop and think about, well, I was 16 at the time and although a 16-year-old is supposed to know right, they know right from wrong but they don't know it completely.
COOPER: What did it feel like to pull the trigger?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to get what I want. These people, I'm going to scare these people away. Nobody's going to pick on me. There won't be any more verbal or physical abuse from anybody.
COOPER: So it felt like relief?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there was great relief.
COOPER: What do you want people to know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kids are going through, it's not that bad. I saw my treatment so bad and if I would have had somebody sit down and say, it's not that bad, you don't have to react this way, there's other means that it might help somebody. It can always be worse and it's always going to get better.
KING: More 360 from the campus of Virginia Tech University in just a moment.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Coming up, Virginia Tech students who heard the shots and know some of the victims from the deadliest mass murder in U.S. history.
Plus Dr. Phil McGraw on coping with trauma all at the top of the hour, all on "LARRY KING LIVE." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: For the latest on the massacre here at Virginia Tech University, be sure to catch "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow morning beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN. John Roberts and Kiran Chetry, the best team and the most news in the morning.
And because this story is still changing and still unfolding here on campus, we'll be back here live in just an hour. Larry King, though, is coming up next.
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