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SCHOOL SHOOTING
Update on Our Role at Virginia Tech

04/17/07

Entrance to Virginia Tech campus
Entrance to Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. Credit: Virginia Tech

Our role in the aftermath of the April 16 shootings on the Virginia Tech campus, which have claimed more than 30 lives, continues to be a supporting one: assisting local and state law enforcement on the scene.

The lead investigative agency in the case is the Virginia Tech Police, which is being assisted by the Virginia State Police. Our Richmond Division is working with these and other agencies to provide help wherever it is needed.

The FBI has dispatched 20 special agents to Virginia Tech, all from the Richmond Division. Additional agents are available from our Norfolk Division and our Washington Field Office.

We have also sent four victim assistance specialists and a terrorism victim specialist to Blacksburg. Three specialists are part of a Victims Assistance Rapid Deployment Team and are specially trained in responding to mass casualty events such as the shootings in Amish country and Red Lake, Minnesota, said Kathryn Turman, head of our Office for Victim Assistance.

The victim specialists—including one from our Richmond field office—are helping the Family Assistance Center that was established on campus and likely will be acting as liaisons between the medical examiner's office and families. They have also helped find major air carriers willing to donate free or low-cost emergency travel for families.

We have victim assistance specialists at field offices across the nation who can help victims and their families living outside the Virginia area, including providing referrals for local services. Other victim specialists may be requested as needed.

“The FBI will do everything it can to provide any additional assistance requested by state and local authorities,” FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said on Tuesday.

Resources:

  • Our Criminal Justice Information Services division recently issued a synopsis of crime in schools and colleges, which is based on data reported to our Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The study, which has not yet been released, covers the five-year period from 2000 to 2004. The objective of the study was to examine the characteristics of offenders and arrestees involved in crimes at schools and colleges.
  • FBI behavioral analyst Supervisory Special Agent Mary Ellen O'Toole last fall offered insights into school shootings. Read more
  • The White House last September convened a Conference on School Safety. The resources deal with helping schools and communities prepare for and prevent school violence and cope with and respond to instances of violence. The list also includes statistics and research on school safety.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics “Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2006” report covers topics such as victimization, fights, bullying, disorder, weapons, student perceptions of school safety, teacher injury, and drugs and alcohol. Indicators of crime and safety are compared across different population subgroups and over time.

Anyone with information that may be helpful to investigators of the Virginia Tech shootings can submit a tip electronically on this website or contact your local FBI office or the police agencies investigating the case.

The men and women of the FBI join a grieving nation in extending our deepest sympathies to the victims and their loved ones.