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Looking at the Virginia Tech massacre from a tactical perspective

On April 16th, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed two students in a dormitory room at Virginia Tech University. Two hours and 20 minutes later, Cho entered the Norris Hall engineering building. He then systematically assaulted five rooms on the second floor. In his wake, he left 30 students and professors murdered, and an additional 24 victims injured. Within minutes, officers from Virginia Tech P.D. and Blacksburg P.D. entered Norris Hall and forced Cho to take his own life.

SWAT teams assemble outside Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing 30 people. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Eric Brady)

Cho began planning and training for his attack in February 2007. He purchased a .22 caliber Walther P-22 handgun over the Internet and in March 2007 he purchased a 9mm Glock from a licensed dealer. Later that month, Cho purchased two extra magazines for the Walther and three extra magazines for the Glock on the internet. He also purchased additional ammunition, magazines, a hunting knife, several chains, four padlocks, and a multi pocket fishing vest. Cho would visit local gun ranges and a national forest shooting range to practice his shooting skills. He also started an intense workout program, which included a weight lifting regimen.

The morning of the massacre Cho shoots and kills his first two victims between 0702 and 0715 in a dormitory on the Virginia Tech campus and flees. At 0720 Virginia Tech police are notified that a female may have fallen from her dorm room bed and a rescue squad was dispatched. Shortly after VTPD respond and by 0730 the crime scene is secured and VTPD begins its investigation into the suspected homicide. VTPD and Blacksburg Police Department ERT officers begin to arrive at approximately 0815 and stage in different areas to assist in a warrant service or to make an arrest of the unknown suspect(s).

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