Gun Violence in the United States 6

In the twenty-first century, gun violence and mass shootings have not slowed down.

The deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history occurred on April 16, 2007 when Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, shot and killed 32 people, including himself, as well as wounding 17 others in a dual attack roughly two hours apart. Six other individuals were hurt escaping from the massacre by hurriedly fleeing through classroom windows. The event is only surpassed in fatality (non-firearm related) as an act of mass carnage on a United States school campus by a fire-bombing which took place in Bath Township, Michigan on May 18, 1927 by Andrew Kehoe, the former school board treasurer who bombed the Bath School, killing 44 people, 38 of which were children, and injuring 58 others after he was outraged at his defeat in a local election for township clerk in 1926.

Throughout a considerable part of Cho's pre-college school years, he received special education care and therapy due to a previous diagnosis of a severe anxiety disorder. When he enrolled at Virginia Tech after his high school graduation the University was ignorant of the earlier diagnosis attributable to federal privacy laws. After becoming a student at Virginia Tech, in 2005 allegations surfaced in reference to him stalking two female students. An investigation ensued, resulting in a Virginia special justice to proclaim Cho as mentally ill. He was ordered by the justice only to attend treatment sessions and seek out counseling.

Early on the morning of April 16 Cho entered the West Ambler Johnston Hall located within the Virginia Tech campus. He was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic Glock 19 handgun as well as a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic. His first victim was a freshman coed who was in her room when Cho pushed his way in. After hearing the sounds of gunshots a male student in his senior year, came to her assistance only to also be shot and killed by Cho.

After the shootings, as police and EMS arrived and worked on the female student who was still clinging to life, Cho went back to his dorm room to change his clothing which was covered in blood. He then removed the hard drive from his computer after deleting his emails. Next, he disposed of his computer as well as his cell phone. Approximately two hours after the first killings he mailed a package to NBC News which contained text documents and videos before returning to his rampage. Law enforcement later said that most of the materials received by the news outlet were of little value and contained mostly things that were already known through their investigation.

After mailing the content, a little more than two hours after the first shootings, Cho continued the bloodbath by heading for and then entering Norris Hall. He carried the two handguns in a backpack which also contained nineteen magazines of nearly 400 rounds of ammunition. The backpack was also packed with a hammer, a knife, several chains and locks. Cho's first victim was a professor who was teaching a class in room 206. After the professor went down after being shot, Cho began emptying his gun, nonstop, killing nine of thirteen students that were in the classroom. Two other students were also injured as a result of the gunplay. He then crossed the hall on a spree that continued unabated until the death toll was elevated to a total of thirty-two. Cho ultimately turned one of his weapons on himself after police were able to breach the doors of Norris Hall.

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