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Va Tech shootings: OK wait a minute, something doesn’t add up (update explaining delay)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

While perusing the Hot Air story by Allahpundit, I came across this in one of the updates:
Drudge links to another story about Cho’s alleged connection to Emily Hilscher with an important fact I haven’t seen before:
Witnesses to the shooting said that the gunman was involved in an argument with a girlfriend and had later stormed out of the dormitory building.

A counsellor – believed to be Mr Clark, who was also a resident adviser – was called to calm the situation at the dormitory.

The gunman returned at 7.15am and shot Ms Hilscher and Mr Clark. US media reported that Mr Clark had been shot in the neck.
I thought he arrived at the building initially with gun in hand, i.e., planning to kill her. But that’s not necessarily true now; he might have gone there to argue with her, stormed off back to his room to get the gun, and then come back to kill her and Clark. The two hours between that shooting and the Norris Hall rampage would have given him time to write the note, too. So let’s not assume just yet that this whole thing was planned days in advance.
Ok, yeah, no rush to judgement on that account, but go back to the first two lines. Line one:
Witnesses to the shooting said that the gunman was involved in an argument with a girlfriend and had later stormed out of the dormitory building.
That infers that there had been witnesses which knew about the argument and him storming out of the building.
A counsellor – believed to be Mr Clark, who was also a resident adviser – was called to calm the situation at the dormitory.
That means a report of some sort was made by someone which ended up seeing Mr. Clark involved.

Is there anyone, then, who believes that Cho's identity wasn't known at that time and that he shouldn't have become an instant suspect?

Which brings us to this from ABC:
Sources say Cho, 23, killed two people in a dorm room, returned to his own dorm room where he re-armed and left the note, then went to a classroom building on the other side of campus. There, he killed 30 more people in four classrooms before shooting himself in the head.
So for approximately 2 hours he was left to sit in his dorm room writing a multi-page note and rearming? And no one checked? No one knew? Where was his roommate? No one was questioned about the identity of the guy who quarreled with her prior to coming back and shooting her? Cho lived in Harper Hall, a veritable hop, skip and a jump from Ambler Johnston Hall where the double murder took place.

I mean how does a murderer sit in his room a few hundred yards from the scene of the crime for a couple of hours and write a note and rearm without someone from the police quickly checking that room out?

Am I missing something here?

UPDATE: Ah, the missing info:
After two people, Emily Jane Hilscher, a freshman, and Ryan Clark, the resident adviser whose room was nearby in the dormitory, were shot dead, the campus police began searching for Karl D. Thornhill, who was described in Internet memorials as Ms. Hilscher’s boyfriend.

According to a search warrant filed by the police, Ms. Hilscher’s roommate had told the police that Mr. Thornhill, a student at nearby Radford University, had guns at his town house. The roommate told the police that she had recently been at a shooting range with Mr. Thornhill, the affidavit said, leading the police to believe he may have been the gunman.

But as they were questioning Mr. Thornhill, reports of widespread shooting at Norris Hall came in, making it clear that they had not contained the threat on campus. Mr. Thornhill was not arrested, although he continues to be an important witness in the case, the police said.

At the time of the dormitory shootings, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said, “There was certainly no evidence or no reason to think that there was anyone else at that particular point in time.”
 
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That means a report of some sort was made by someone which ended up seeing Mr. Clark involved.
That, or Mr Clark possesses the basic levels of observation, and heard the argument... His room was right next door. He could easily heard shouting and yelling, come over to see what was up, adn still been talking to the girl when nut-job returned and shot them both...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Here is a Los Angeles Times report that says this little bastard once set fire to his dorm room.

The sheer official incompetence in this whole scene is reaching Mack Sennett proportions.

...except for all the bloody murder, of course.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I dunno.

I understand not locking down the campus. Honest, I do. Last time they did that (for the escaped convict) they had information he might be on site, and still took a butt-load of flak.

However, the failure to warn students is going to screw them completely...

I’m just glad the SOB is dead. Now if only he’d have STARTED with himself, instead of ENDING...

And am I the only one who fails to understand his "reasons"? He was angry at our society... "American society is too violent... I’m going to kill a bunch of people..."

Seriously, wtf?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Not only that but he wrote to an online board saying :
According to school officials, Cho even had time to post a deadly warning on a school online forum.

"im going to kill people at vtech today," they said he wrote.
Then he had time to phone in a bomb threat at the school:
After leaving the scene of the first shooting, Cho telephoned authorities with a threat, saying there was a bomb at Norris Hall, about half a mile away from Johnston.
Makes it even worse
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
They have confirmed he called in a bomb threat??

So maybe he IS connected to the bomb threats last week...

And the bomb threat would derail checking on the first murder, or at least slow it...

And maybe keep the police too busy to come find him in regards to the first shooting, giving him time to prep for the bloodbath...

I dunno. He was bug-f**k nuts, but just maybe he wasn’t stupid...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"Am I missing something here?" Well yes, the fact that we already know what happened later as opposed to appearing on the scene of the original murders and trying to assess the situation. Perhaps the witnesses did not know his name but just recognized his face. Many things are obviously clear after the fact.
 
Written By: Paul
URL: http://
http://www.aaja.org/news/aajanews/2007_04_16_01/


We have an early leader for VaTech-related stupidity.....Obama’s comments linking this to Imus "verbal violence" is a close 2nd.

Once Hillary weighs in, I’m sure she will take the lead.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So far, nobody’s blamed George Bush for this evil deed. But I have read that the Euro’s are blaming Charlton Heston.
I guess if you can’t blame the Devil,
...blame God...
 
Written By: BWIII
URL: http://
Locking down seems to be a terrible idea - if I knew there was a maniac at large I wouldn’t want to be forced to stay in one place, I’d want to be able to make my own decisions about my safety. Too bad the university was apparently more concerned with PR than letting adults make their own decisions. *ssh*les.
 
Written By: Aardvark
URL: http://
Well yes, the fact that we already know what happened later as opposed to appearing on the scene of the original murders and trying to assess the situation.


Not at all. I’m asking why, within the two hours given, that his room wasn’t checked. You’ve provided nothing which clarifies that.

Obviously I’m sitting here afterward asking questions. What, are you going to just accept that it had to happen?
Perhaps the witnesses did not know his name but just recognized his face. Many things are obviously clear after the fact.
So the relationship happened in secret with no one, including the girl’s roommate, knowing the name of her estranged boyfriend even when, as it appears, people witnessed him storming off after an argument and someone went so far as to call in a counsellor to calm the situation?

But there was no way to determine his name ... is that your argument? And if there was, there was no reason to check his room in the immediate aftermath?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So far, nobody’s blamed George Bush for this evil deed.
you spoke too soon.

Herr Olbermann just pinned it on Bush

 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I’m asking why, within the two hours given, that his room wasn’t checked.
Do we know that anyone at that time, say 7:00am, anyone knew who it was arguing with the girl? Perhaps the only two were the two killed fifteen minutes later. Perhaps it was a pure anonomous stalking and neither the girl, the RA, or anyone else knew who this wacko was. Perhaps someone said they saw that who they thought was the perp, driving off campus.

The point being, there is still a lot of info that is not concrete, and perhaps folks are elevating rumour to fact, and positing as certainty pure conjecture.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
McQ: I don’t know either, but I can’t imagine the Tech police were so incompetent and/or lackadaisical that they wouldn’t have been diligently trying to identify the shooter and, presuming they identified him, gone looking for him everywhere they thought he might have been... his room, his classes, other places he was known to frequent, etc.

While murders were not an everyday occurence for them, I have to believe that the campus police would have had some officers trained in how to handle murders (or, at the very least, would have had officers who watched crime shows on TV and knew one of the first things you did was go to where the suspect lived).

My guess is that as more details come out, we’ll find that the police acted in an appropriate manner.

FWIW, some of the early reports were that University officials did not think the shooter was a student, which, if true, would indicate that they hadn’t identified the shooter before the second batch of shootings took place... and thus wouldn’t have known to go to his room.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: www.thoughtsonline.blogspot.com
McQ: I don’t know either, but I can’t imagine the Tech police were so incompetent and/or lackadaisical that they wouldn’t have been diligently trying to identify the shooter and, presuming they identified him, gone looking for him everywhere they thought he might have been... his room, his classes, other places he was known to frequent, etc.
I’m not claiming they were incompetent or lackadasical. I’m asking what information they had at the time of the first murders. If they had no witnesses and no one knew his name, fine. If not, that’s an entirely different story, isn’t it?
While murders were not an everyday occurence for them, I have to believe that the campus police would have had some officers trained in how to handle murders (or, at the very least, would have had officers who watched crime shows on TV and knew one of the first things you did was go to where the suspect lived).
I would hope so, but given this information, it’d be nice to know if that’s true, wouldn’t it?
FWIW, some of the early reports were that University officials did not think the shooter was a student, which, if true, would indicate that they hadn’t identified the shooter before the second batch of shootings took place... and thus wouldn’t have known to go to his room.
There were all sorts of early reports which turned into nothing. It’ll be interesting to see how much they did know after the first murders though, won’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
That, or Mr Clark possesses the basic levels of observation, and heard the argument... His room was right next door. He could easily heard shouting and yelling, come over to see what was up, adn still been talking to the girl when nut-job returned and shot them both...
Except we’re working off a report which says he was "called" into the situation. We also have a report which says "witnesses" say he stormed out of the dorm after an argument.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So the relationship happened in secret with no one, including the girl’s roommate, knowing the name of her estranged boyfriend even when, as it appears, people witnessed him storming off after an argument and someone went so far as to call in a counsellor to calm the situation?
Well, not everyone in a dorm talks about who they are dating. I know a guy who’s roomy didn’t even know the guy was engaged, and got MARRIED during the semester. It happens. And it’s entirely possible that people knew he was her boyfriend, but didn’t know his name.
Some Person: "Hey, who’s that guy?"

Her: "My Boyfriend"

SP: "Oh... Cool... I gotta get to class. Bye."
Also, "calling" for a guy who’s room is next door might be as simple as the chick yelling for him to come help her with Looney McCrazypant, or someone walking by pointing out there’s an argument next door.

It doesn’t mean any report other than "hey dude, check out so-and-so’s room... Hella yelling match going on".

Or his hearing the loud shouts could have been what "called" him. I doubt an actual report was made beyond the verbal...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Well, not everyone in a dorm talks about who they are dating. I know a guy who’s roomy didn’t even know the guy was engaged, and got MARRIED during the semester. It happens. And it’s entirely possible that people knew he was her boyfriend, but didn’t know his name.
So you’re claiming it is possible no one knew who she was dating even though women rarely keep such things to themselves or people who live in rooms near another don’t at least have passing familiarity with each other and who then know? Even the witnesses? What would you guess the probability of that being correct might be?
Also, "calling" for a guy who’s room is next door might be as simple as the chick yelling for him to come help her with Looney McCrazypant, or someone walking by pointing out there’s an argument next door.
Might be. Then again, it might mean he was contacted by someone else as well like someone trying to comfort the girl, and asked to lend a hand at calming the situation.
Or his hearing the loud shouts could have been what "called" him. I doubt an actual report was made beyond the verbal...
Even if true, we have all those inconvenient "witnesses" with which to contend.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I recommend a 72 hr rule before trying to make any judgements on how the situation was handled. The same as with 9-11, it’s all too easy in retrospect to say X,Y,Z should have known to do 1,2,3.

Wait for a solid timeline, a solid background of the people involved. For example, it seems clear now Cho had no girlfriend.

There is a 2 hr gap that is hard to explain at this point, it seems by 9am they should know there was a shooter on the loose, but suppose a gun was left at the dorm room. The police wouldn’t know the killer was out there let alone suspect Cho. (That doesn’t seem to be the case, but it illustrates how missing one bit of info changes events significantly.)

Timeline
7.15am local time Monday April 16 (12.15pm BST) Virginia Tech Police Department receive an emergency call to go to a dormitory room at West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall. Two people, a man and a woman have been shot dead in the dormitory. The hall is “locked down” and students are asked to remain in their rooms while police investigate. The university authorities believe the deaths are “an isolated incident, domestic in nature”.

9.26am local time (2.26pm BST) University authorities send out an email to every student and member of staff giving brief details of the murders and asking them to report any suspicious activity. An emergency recording and a telephone message are also transmitted.

9.55am local time (2.55pm BST)Staff and students are notified by email about the second shootings.

10.17am local time (3.17pm BST) First media reports of a shooting at Virginia Tech involving multiple victims. State government official says one person has been killed and another wounded. University posts a notice about the incident on its website saying a gunman is “loose on campus”. Students told to stay inside, away from windows.

 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
If you’re missing anything, it’s the basic flaw of bureaucracy. It never, ever keeps up with the speed of the individual in action.

All a bureaucrat can do is analyze the situation after the individual has acted, and then try to prevent the action in future individuals, via the power of paperwork.
 
Written By: Trevor
URL: http://willtoexist.com
Except we’re working off a report which says he was "called" into the situation. We also have a report which says "witnesses" say he stormed out of the dorm after an argument.
Sorry McQ, but you’re seemingly operating off the premise that whom ever "called " it in knew the shooter at that time. Those are facts thus far unconfirmed - that may change, and your questions may be quite pertinent, but...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I’m just saying that when someone was asked "who did this" the answer could very possibly have been "I have no idea who it was... Some chinese guy... I think it might have been her boyfriend?"

Maybe the room mate knew him, maybe not. Did you introduce your college girlfriend to everyone in the dorm to make sure everyone knew who she was?

As an aside, a friend of mine who’s grandmother is INSANE (I’m talking bug-f**k nuts, makes Sonny the CooCoo Bird look like Dan Rather) who has never supported her choice of majors in college ("I don’t know ANY creative writing majors") called her tonight and asked if she was going to go shoot up the local college...

I think english majors in general are gonna have a rough go for a lil while.

Remember when it was just the D&D geeks and LARPers people worried about? I miss those days (Since I’m in both groups...)

Is it in bad taste to make shirts that say "Warning: Creative Writing Major"?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
It is probably better to wait for a couple of days, at a minimum, before believing anything about this. It usually takes time for the cr*p to be filtered out.

In the end, I am sure he will turn out to be another "troubled" loner who has difficulty forming social bonds. We whould all be very suspicious of anyone who doesn’t act as friendly and outgoing as a used car salesman who hasn’t made a sale in a month. This would never have happened, of course, if guns had not been so easily available. If Bush had made common-sense gun control legislation as big a priority as getting us involved in an endless quagmire, we all would have been better off.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Read this and read this.

I’d sooner support the government buying everyone a gun, bullets and training than anything much more toward limits than what we already had.

The talk about Cho having a few extra bullets before reload and being able to do it quickly doesn’t make much difference when he’s allowed to roam without fear of anyone shooting back at him.
 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
To the original question, I just remembered talk of police early on looking for a white "person of interest" who knew the girl so that would be an example of them doing exactly what McQ wanted them to do, only in this situation it takes them in the wrong direction from the actual shooter.

From here:

Tuesday, April 17th 2007 10:49AM
Press conference, this morning
Saira Haider and Kevin Anderson, CT News Staff

The person of interest in regards to the first shooting in West Ambler-Johnston was an acquaintance of the female victim and is still under questioning. He was stopped immediately following the first shooting and was detained for questioning. As he was being questioned, the Norris shootings occurred. He is not a student.
 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
I’m just saying that when someone was asked "who did this" the answer could very possibly have been "I have no idea who it was... Some chinese guy... I think it might have been her boyfriend?"

Maybe the room mate knew him, maybe not. Did you introduce your college girlfriend to everyone in the dorm to make sure everyone knew who she was?
Everybody I knew knew her name, yes. And that included my roommate and people in the dorm. So the questions stand.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I recommend a 72 hr rule before trying to make any judgements on how the situation was handled.
Look folks, I’m asking questions based on reports, that’s all. There’s a hole here and I’m trying to get info to fill it.
The university authorities believe the deaths are "an isolated incident, domestic in nature".
Which, interpreted ("domestic?"), means they think the "boyfriend" killed them. How did they know she had a "boyfriend"? Someone had to tell them. Did they have an ID at the time?

Not unreasonable questions. If they had only a vague idea, that’s one thing. Obviously if they had a name, that’s another.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, it’s all about assumptions at this point. Until all the witness statements are collected and a detailed timeline produced.

Just saw this on Pajamas Media, which could put a kink in a lot of theories...
Emily Hilscher’s best friend and roommate said she knew of no connection between the killer and his first victim. “I’ve never seen him. I don’t know his name. Emily didn’t know him, as far as I know.” (LA Times)
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
here’s a wapo article summarizing how the police went looking for the boyfriend of the first victim, only to find out while they were questioning him that more shootings were taking place.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
See update.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If Bush had made common-sense gun control legislation as big a priority as getting us involved in an endless quagmire, we all would have been better off.
He did make common sense gun legislation a priority—he attempted to protect guns from tort lawsuits. The Democrats killed it by tacking on the vile AWB renewal.

It is funny how the left hates a quagmire in Iraq, but desires one here.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don,

The legislature makes laws, not the president. If blame’s your game, there’s plenty to go around. Heck, let’s blame Nader. If it weren’t for him, Gore would be president and nothing bad would have happened.

 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://

 
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