A South Korean national who was studying English at the university was behind the massacre of at least 30 people locked inside a Virginia Tech campus building in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, the university said Tuesday.
The Virginia Tech Police Department identified him as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a last year student in the English department.
The bloodbath ended with the gunman's suicide, bringing the death toll from two separate shootings - first at a dorm, then in a classroom building - to 33 and stamping the campus in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains with unspeakable tragedy.
Some students said their first warning came more than two hours after the first shooting, in an e-mail at 9:26 a.m. By then the second shooting had begun.
Two students told NBC television's "Today" show they were unaware of the dorm shooting when they reported to a German class where the gunman later opened fire.
Derek O'Dell, his arm in a cast after being shot, described a shooter who fired away in "eerily silence" with "no specific target - just taking out anybody he could."
After the gunman left the room, students could hear him shooting other people down the hall. O'Dell said he and other students barricaded the door so the shooter couldn't get back in - though he later tried.
"After he couldn't get the door open he tried shooting it open... but the gunshots were blunted by the door," O'Dell said.