SPECIAL- Day of terror: Campus rocked by massacre

West Ambler Johnston Hall, first shooting, 7:15am

The shooter, identified Tuesday as Cho Seung-Hui, entered this dorm and killed a senior resident assistant, Ryan Clark, and Emily Hilscher, a 19-year-old freshman, on the fourth floor.


Nearly 900 freshman students and 19 resident advisors live in this residence hall, known on campus as "West A.J."  The gothic-design stone dorm opened in 1969 and was named after J. Ambler Johnston, a 1904 graduate and co-founder of the architectural firm that built this and many other campus buildings.

West A.J. also houses the Wellness Environment for Living and Learning, a substance-free living program that attracts about 295 students annually. 

A keycard is required to enter the dorm that's locked each night. Seung-Hui may have been waiting outside for the dorm to open at 7am. Most students, including many in this dorm, unaware of the first shootings, attended morning classes as usual.

Norris Hall, second shooting, 9:45am

Thirty people were killed in this academic building, including at least two professors. Many others were injured, some after leaping from second-story windows. The shooter also died here, but was initially unidentifiable because he shot himself in the face. 

Norris Hall houses faculty offices, the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, and classrooms used for a variety of courses. Tech's academic buildings usually remain unlocked, but Seung-Hui had chained several of the main exits, which had to be forced open by police. After the first shots, students and professors barricaded themselves in classrooms and offices for up to an hour before police entered and ordered them to flee. Many of the injured students had been in a German class on the second floor, and students in a nearby Media Writing course recorded the events as they waited to be rescued.

Drillfield, site of post-shooting chaos

Students and faculty members fled across the Drillfield in frenzied chaos during and after the second shooting.  With high winds eliminating any possible use of helicopters, emergency workers carried dead and injured victims from Norris Hall across the field to ambulances parked on its periphery.  Academic and residential quads surround the large oval green, a campus focal point. Historically, the field has been used for horticultural gardens, playing fields, and various other purposes including training ground for Tech's venerable Corps of Cadets. A creek that ran through the Drillfield was covered in 1934. 

Torgerson Hall, target of bomb threats

A letter received on Monday, April 2 threatened that a bomb would explode that evening in Torgerson Hall. Authorities evacuated students and faculty around 1:30 that afternoon, but the building reopened Tuesday morning. A main academic building on campus, Torgerson contains classrooms and a popular computer lab. On Friday, April 13, another bomb threat caused the University to close Torgersen again, as well as Durham and Whittemore Halls.

sources: Hook interviews, vt.edu, cnn.com, The New York Times, The Roanoke Times,