The Shootings at Virginia Tech: A Timeline

This is a timeline of events relating to the shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

Checkout this video:


On April 16, 2007, a senior at Virginia Tech named Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people and wounding 17 others before taking his own life. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

Here is a timeline of the events of that day, as well as the aftermath of the tragedy.

The Morning of April 16, 2007

At 7:15 a.m., sophomore Emily Hilscher, an 18-year-old animal and veterinary sciences major, was shot and killed in West Ambler Johnston Hall, a coed dormitory where she lived. A resident assistant in the dorm, Ryan Clark, 22, was also shot. He later died at Virginia Tech University Hospital.

The Aftermath of the Morning Shootings

In the aftermath of the morning shootings, emergency personnel worked to secure the campus and determine the extent of the damage. Police helicopters circled overhead as ambulances rushed to the scene. University officials sent out a series of text messages and e-mails to students, faculty, and staff, urging them to stay indoors and away from windows. The campus was locked down, and classes were cancelled for the day.

As word of the shootings spread, students and others began to gather outside dormitories and other buildings on campus, trying to find out what had happened and whether their friends and loved ones were safe. Many people used their cell phones to call family members and friends; others huddled around radios and television sets in an effort to get information.

The university’s website was overloaded with traffic as people tried to find out what was happening, and several major news organizations set up live blogs where they posted updates on the situation.

By late morning, it was clear that the shootings were over, but it would take several more hours for authorities to release all of the information about what had happened. In the meantime, students, faculty, staff, and families waited for news about those who had been injured or killed in the shootings.

The Afternoon of April 16, 2007

3:05 p.m.: Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shoots two students inside West Ambler Johnston residence hall, killing them both.

7:30 p.m.: Virginia Tech police Chief Wendell Flinchum holds a news conference to announce that a double homicide has taken place on campus and that the shooter is still at large.

9:26 p.m.: Cho emails NBC News a multimedia package that includes photos of him brandishing weapons and ranting against rich kids and debauchery.

The Aftermath of the Afternoon Shootings

In the wake of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, students, faculty and staff reeled. Some cried. Others embraced. Many just tried to make sense of the incomprehensible.

While some NCAA officials called for Virginia Tech to cancel its Saturday home football game against the University of Maryland, others said the game should be played as scheduled to honor the victims and help the university community begin to heal.

classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday, but university officials said they would resume Wednesday.


What happened on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech was a tragedy. Thirty-two innocent people were killed and many more were wounded. The university community was devastated.

In the days and weeks that followed, the world learned more about the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho. We also learned more about the victims. Their stories touched our hearts.

The Virginia Tech community has been through a lot in the past 10 years. But they have also come together to support each other and to create a place where people can feel safe.

Scroll to Top