- (Photo: AP / Chuck Burton)
The gunman of Monday's deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech was a university student in at least one of the two attacks, said the school's president Tuesday.
Amid shock and prayers for the 33 claimed lives on campus, the gunman in the second shooting at Norris Hall engineering building was identified as "an Asian man who was a resident in one of our dormitories," said university president Charles Steger in an interview with CNN. Steger said he was still uncertain the student, who claimed his own life, was also the gunman in the first shooting in a dorm two hours earlier, but he said he did not believe there was another shooter.
The gunman was dressed in a short-sleeved tan shirt and black ammunition vest - "almost like a Boy Scout," Erin Sheehan, a student who survived in Norris Hall, told CNN. "He just stepped within five feet of the door and just started firing."
"He was very silent," she added.
Although police have a preliminary identification of one gunman, they are not ready to release it, said university police Chief Wendell Flinchum.
The shooting began about 7:15 a.m. EDT at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory. Two people were killed. Two hours later, the gunman shot 30 people dead and wounded 15 in Norris Hall, which was said to be chained and locked from the inside.
My heart is heavy with the tragic news of the deadliest school shooting incident in American history and our prayers are with the dozens of victims and their families during this horrible time," said evangelist Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in a statement on Monday.
"Sadly, we have once again been reminded of the evil that people can perpetrate on others; and while many theories will surface in the coming days and weeks about how such a terrible act occurs, I believe what weve seen here is ultimately a reflection of the condition of the human heart."
Bomb threats were made on campus over the past two weeks, according to police. While some students thought them to be pranks, police have not yet determined whether they were linked to the shootings.
As questions remain unanswered in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, Graham's "prayer in this time of tragedy is that it will pull us together as a nation and focus our attention on those families who have suffered great loss and turn our eyes to the Prince of all peace, Jesus Christ.