The Virginia Tech Shooting: What Happened and Why

This blog article discusses the Virginia Tech shooting and what may have caused it.

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On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people on the school’s Blacksburg, Virginia, campus—innocents who had no idea that Cho was a madman. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

Before going on his rampage, Cho sent NBC News a package containing photos of himself holding guns and ranting against “ rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on the college campus. The package arrived at the network’s New York offices after Cho had begun his attack.

In the two hours between the first two shootings at West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall, police believe Cho went to his dorm room, inserted earplugs, donned a black leather glove on his right hand and loaded his Walther P22 semiautomatic handgun with 19 high-velocity rounds. He then placed the gun in a backpack with extra magazines of ammunition.

The Shooting

On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, fatally shot 32 people and wounded 17 others in two locations on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

The shooter

The shooter in the Virginia Tech shooting has been identified as 23-year-old student Cho Seung-Hui. Cho was a senior at Virginia Tech, and was a permanent resident of the United States from South Korea.

Cho had a history of mental illness, and had been previously diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He had been treated with medication and therapy, but had stopped seeking treatment prior to the shooting.

It is not clear what motivated Cho to carry out the shooting. Cho left behind a note which ranted against “rich kids”, “debauchery”, and ” Deceitful charlatans”. He also mentioned Columbine gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

The victims

The Virginia Tech Shooting occurred on April 16, 2007, when a gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Thirty-two people were killed and seventeen were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The majority of the victims were students at Virginia Tech. They ranged in age from 18 to 22 years old and came from all over the United States. Some of the victims were international students, from countries such as India, Israel, France, Canada, and Peru.

Many of the victims were shot multiple times and some were shot at close range. Some of the students who were killed tried to help others get out of harm’s way or shielding themselves with their own bodies.

The families of the victims have set up scholarship funds and memorials in memory of their loved ones.

The aftermath

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, the university established a panel to investigate the shooting and make recommendations for preventing future tragedies. The panel’s report, released in August 2007, found that the university had failed to adequately respond to warning signs about Cho’s mental health and made a number of recommendations for improving campus safety.

The report led to changes in state and federal laws regarding background checks for gun purchases and mental health treatment. It also spurred reforms at Virginia Tech, including the creation of a new position of vice president for risk management and safety and the implementation of an emergency notification system that can quickly reach all students, faculty, and staff in the event of an emergency.

Why It Happened

The shooter’s motive

The Virginia Tech shooting was a mass shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before killing himself.

The motive for the shooting is still not completely clear, but it seems that Cho was motivated by a desire to exact revenge on those he felt had wronged him. He may have also been motivated by a desire to gain infamy, as he left behind a manifesto detailing his grievances and outlining his plans for the shootings.

Warning signs

There were several warning signs that Cho Seung-Hui was a disturbed individual. In 2005, he was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and placed on medication. He was also referred to counseling, but he refused to go.

In the months leading up to the shooting, Cho exhibited increasingly strange behavior. He became a hermit, barely leaving his room or interacting with anyone. He would shoot pellet guns at people passing by his window. He developed an obsession with the Columbine High School shooters and other school shootings.

On April 16, 2007, Cho went on a rampage at Virginia Tech, killing 32 people and wounding 17 others before shooting himself in the head. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Investigators later found that Cho had sent threatening emails and videos to two classmates in the weeks before the shooting. He also left a note in his dorm room that detailed his anger and frustration.

It is still not clear what motivated Cho to commit such a heinous act, but it is clear that he was a disturbed individual who was not getting the help he needed.


It is impossible to know what was going through Cho’s mind in the days, weeks, or even years leading up to the shootings. We may never know why he chose Virginia Tech as his target, or why he seemed to target women specifically. What we do know is that Cho was a deeply troubled young man who fell through the cracks of the mental health system. He was able to purchase guns legally, and no one intervened to stop him before he carried out his horrific attack.

In the wake of the shooting, Virginia Tech implemented a number of changes to improve safety on campus and make sure something like this never happens again. These include better mental health services, more security cameras and locks on doors, and a system that notifies students and faculty of emergencies via text message. Hopefully these measures will help prevent another tragedy from occurring at Virginia Tech or any other college campus.

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