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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Identify Killer in Virginia Tech Shootings

BLACKSBURG, Virginia -- A fourth-year student from South Korea 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.

Ballistics tests also found that one of the guns used in that attack was also used in a shooting two hours earlier at a dorm that left two people dead, Virginia State Police said.

Police identified the shooter as Cho Seung-hui, 23, a senior in the university's English department who lived on campus. Authorities said he was a legal resident of the United States. Cho committed suicide after the attacks, and there was no indication Tuesday of a motive.

"He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," school spokesman Larry Hincker said.

Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information had not been announced, said Cho's fingerprints were found on the guns used in the shootings. The serial numbers on the two weapons had been filed off, the officials said.

One law enforcement official said Cho was carrying a backpack that contained receipts for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol.

Colonel Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said it was reasonable to assume that Cho was the shooter in both attacks, but that link was not yet definitive.

A memorial service was planned at the university later Tuesday, and U.S. President George W. Bush planned to attend, the White House said. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine was flying back from Tokyo for the 2 p.m. ceremony.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry also expressed its condolences, saying there was no known motive for the shootings and that South Korea hoped the tragedy would not "stir up racial prejudice or confrontation."

The ministry said Cho had been in the United States from a young age, but no further details were given.

The first deadly attack, at a dormitory around 7:15 a.m., left two people dead. But some students said they did not get their first warning about a danger on campus until two hours later, in an e-mail at 9:26 a.m. By then, the second attack had begun.

Two students told NBC television that they were unaware of the dorm shooting when they walked into Norris Hall, where the gunman later opened fire. The victims in Norris Hall were found in four classrooms and a stairwell, Flaherty said. Cho was found dead in one of the classrooms, he said.

Derek O'Dell, his arm in a cast after being shot, described a shooter who fired in eerie 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 could not get back in -- though he later tried.

The shootings began at about 7:15 a.m. on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston, a high-rise coed dormitory where two people died.

Police were still investigating at 9:15 a.m., when a gunman wielding two handguns and carrying multiple clips of ammunition stormed Norris Hall, a classroom building one kilometer away.

At least 20 people were taken to hospitals after the second attack, some seriously injured. Many found themselves trapped after someone, apparently the shooter, chained and locked Norris Hall doors from the inside.

Students jumped from windows, and along with faculty carried away some of the wounded without waiting for ambulances to arrive.

Inside Norris, the attack began with a thunderous sound from Room 206 -- "what sounded like an enormous hammer," said Alec Calhoun, 20, who was in a classroom next door.

Screams followed an instant later, and the banging continued. When students realized the sounds were gunshots, Calhoun said, he started flipping over desks to make hiding places. Others dashed to the windows of the second-floor classroom, kicking out the screens and jumping, he said.

"I must've been the eighth or ninth person who jumped, and I think I was the last," said Calhoun.

He said the two students behind him were shot, but that he believed they survived. Just before he climbed out the window, Calhoun said, he turned to look at his professor, who had stayed behind, apparently to prevent the gunman from opening the door.

The instructor was killed, Calhoun said.