Campus & Lone Wolf Attacker Simulation
At 7:15 on a snowy April morning, a lone gunman entered West Ambler Johnston Dormitory,
proceeded to Room 4040, and killed two students. Two hours and 25 minutes later, the same
gunman, armed with two semi-automatic pistols entered Norris Hall and fired 174 rounds killing
33 and seriously injuring 17 students and faculty members in a terrifying 11-minute rampage
spanning five classrooms. Although 14 campus security officers are on duty at the time of the
incident, and the local police department, consisting of 56 officers, was located 0.7 miles from
the incident, authorities were helpless to interdict the shooter for the entire duration of the
incident that lasted two hours and 36 minutes. As the gunman continues to hunt and fire upon
new victims throughout the halls and classrooms of Norris Hall, students and faculty had no
means to stop the massacre. This terrifying event only ended when the gunman finally turned one
of his weapons on himself and committed suicide. 1 Information contained in the simulation was
obtained from the official report on the event (TriData Division, 2009).
It is not the intent of the founders of Intrusion Technologies to point fingers of blame in these situations or use tragic situations to their benefit. All experienced public safety providers, the founders believe strongly in using the lessons of history in violent intrusions and attacks to help prevent them in the future. All of our hearts go out to the families of those who lost loved ones in these senseless attacks.
Timeline of events
VT Event Timeline
Seung Hui Cho enters room 4040 in West
Ambler Johnston residential hall and shoots one
female victim and a second male victim that
comes to investigate. Both victims are fatally
wounded. The loud noises resulting from Cho’s
fatal gun shots, killing Emily Hilscher and Ryan
Clark and the sounds of their bodies falling to the
floor, were initially misinterpreted by other
students in the dormitory as someone falling out
of a loft bed.
The VTPD receives a call on their
administrative telephone line advising that
a female student in room 4040 of WAJ had
possibly fallen from her loft bed. The caller
was given this information by another WAJ
resident near room 4040 who heard the
noise. As a result, a student residing in a nearby
room called the VTPD and a police officer and
EMS team was dispatched to the dormitory.
The VTPD dispatcher notifies the
Virginia Tech Rescue Squad that a female
student had possibly fallen from her loft bed
in WAJ. A VTPD officer is dispatched to
room 4040 at WAJ to accompany the Virginia
Tech Rescue Squad, which is also dispatched
(per standard protocol).
The VTPD officer arrives at WAJ
room 4040, finds two people shot inside the
room, and immediately requests additional
07:30:00 - 08:00:00
A friend of Hilscher’s arrives at
WAJ to join her for the walk to chemistry
class. She is questioned by detectives and
explains that on Monday mornings Hilscher’s
boyfriend would drop her off and go
back to Radford University where he was a
student. She tells police that the boyfriend
is an avid gun user and practices using the
gun. This leads the police to seek him as a “person of interest” and potential suspect.
09:15:00 - 09:30:30
Cho is seen outside and then
inside Norris Hall, an engineering building.
He chains the doors shut on the three main
entrances from the inside. No one reports
seeing him do this.
Virginia Tech administration
sends e-mail to campus staff, faculty, and
students informing them of the dormitory
09:40:00 - 09:51:00
Cho begins shooting in room 206 in Norris Hall,
where a graduate engineering class in Advanced Hydrology is underway. Cho kills Professor G. V. Loganathan and other students in the class, killing 9 and wounding 3 of the 13 students. Cho goes across the hall from room 206 and enters room 207, an Elementary German class. He shoots teacher Christopher James Bishop, then students near the front of the classroom and starts down the aisle shooting others. Cho leaves the classroom to go back into the hall. Students in room 205, attending Haiyan Cheng’s class on Issues in Scientific Computing, hear Cho’s gunshots. (Cheng was a graduate assistant substituting for the professor that day.) The students barricade the door and prevent Cho’s entry despite his firing at them through the door.
Meanwhile, in room 211 Madame Jocelyne Couture-Nowak is teaching French. She and her class hear the shots, and she asks student Colin Goddard to call 9-1-1. A student tells the teacher to put the desk in front of the door, which is done but it is nudged open by Cho. Cho walks down the rows of desks shooting people. Goddard is shot in the leg. Student Emily Haas picks up the cell phone Goddard dropped. She begs the police to
hurry. Cho hears Haas and shoots her, grazing her twice in the head. She falls and plays dead, though keeping the phone cradled under her head and the line open. Cho says nothing on entering the room or during the shooting.
A BPD dispatcher receives a call regarding the shooting in Norris Hall. The panel estimates that the shooting began at this time based on the time it took for the students and faculty in the room next door to recognize that the sounds being heard were gunshots, and then make the call to 9-1-1. dispatcher initially has difficulty understanding the location of the shooting. Once
identified as being on campus, the call is transferred to VTPD.
The first 9-1-1 call reporting shots fired reaches the VTPD. A message is sent to all county EMS units to staff and respond.
The first police officers arrive at Norris Hall, a three-minute response time from their receipt of the call. Hearing shots, they pause briefly to check whether they are being fired upon, then rush to one entrance, then another, and then a third but find all three chained shut. Attempts to shoot open the locks fail. The police inform the
administration that there has been another shooting. University President Steger hears
sounds like gunshots, and sees police running
toward Norris Hall. Back in room 207, the German class, two uninjured students and two injured students go to the door and hold it shut with their feet and hands, keeping their bodies away. Within 2 minutes, Cho returns. He beats on the door and opens it an inch and fires shots around the door handle, then gives up trying to get in. Cho returns to room 211, the French class, and goes up one aisle and down another, shooting people again. Cho shoots Goddard again twice more. A janitor sees Cho in the hall on the second floor loading his gun; he flees downstairs. Cho tries to enter room 204 where engineering professor Liviu Librescu is teaching Mechanics. Librescu braces his body against the door yelling for students to head for the window. He is shot through the door. Students push out screens and jump or drop to grass or bushes below the window. Ten students escape this way. The next two students trying to escape are shot. Cho returns again to room 206 and shoots more students.
Using a shotgun, police shoot open the ordinary key lock of a fourth entrance to Norris Hall that goes to a machine shop and that could not be chained. The police hear gunshots as they enter the building. They immediately follow the sounds to the second floor. Triage and rescue of victims begin.
Cho shoots himself in the head just as police reach the second floor. Investigators believe that the police shotgun blast alerted Cho to the arrival of the police. Cho’s shooting spree in Norris Hall lasted about 11 minutes. He fired 174 rounds, and killed 30 people in Norris Hall plus himself, and wounded 17.
Timeline of events
AIMS Active Response
Second student hears shots (provided training
teaches to recognize gunfire) and activates AIMS.
Second victim shelters in place preventing second
fatality. Building lockdown, police department notified, video feed activated, facility alarm activated.
Staff verifies shooting incident and location
through video feed. Verification of active shooter
notification to police department. Incident is verified as a shooting and a suspect identified to aid in the investigation. Suspect immediately exits the building so disorienting fog is not indicated. No delay in alerting proper resources. Due to size of facility, full campus lockdown would be decided by staff. Due to early information that the shooter is a student and with other intelligence to his whereabouts this would be indicated. If the facility is closed and locked down at this time the fatalities would stop at 1.
Upon hearing gunfire, (provided training teaches to recognize gunfire), students in rooms near shooting activate AIMS. Students shelter in place away from doors preventing additional casualties. Building locks down, police department is notified, video feed is activated, facility alarm activated. Suspect is unable to enter additional rooms or reenter Room 206 once he exits. Attacker at this time is unable to continue his attack stopping the total fatalities at 10.
Upon staff viewing video feed from attack area, disorienting fog is activated in common hallway further inhibiting attackers ability to continue
his attack or engage new targets.
As police enter the facility the disorienting fog gives them the ability to identify the intruder with
thermal sites or a thermal imaging camera while
keeping the intruder from identifying them. The
individual room key mag lock defeat allows them to clear each room individually without the assistance from the room occupants.
The events of April 16, 2007 and other similar active shooter/violent intrusion events indicate
that a systematic rapid response product is effective in mitigating the damage caused by active
shooter(s). In this specific instance a reduction of fatalities, not including the gunman, from 32 to
as low as 1 or as high as 10. Victim-initiated mitigation is the most effective means of providing
protection for occupants of High Occupancy Facilities (Hubbard, 2012).
AIMSTM reacts in milliseconds once activated. It isolates potential victims from the shooter.
Provides a facility-wide alarm that forces staff and occupants to react as trained. Law
enforcement and other response agencies have the necessary equipment and training to neutralize
the attack with the aid of the AIMS. The bottom line is this – AIMS holds the potential to save lives and provide victim-initiated mitigation that will keep our children safe. For additional information please contact:
11010 Monroe Rd., Suite A, Matthews, NC, 28105