BLACKSBURG, Va., April 16 — The gunshots were so slow and steady that some students thought they came from a nearby construction site, until they saw the police officers with rifles pointed at Norris Hall, the engineering building at Virginia Tech.
They went on and on, for what seemed like 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, an eternity with punctuation.
Bang. Bang. On the third floor of Norris Hall, Scott L. Hendricks, a professor, looked out the window of his office and saw students crawling away from the building.
Bang. Tiffany Otey’s accounting class crammed into an office and locked themselves in, crying in fright.
Every so often, the shots paused for a minute or so. That was the gunman, who was in the midst of the worst shooting rampage in American history, stopping to reload. When it was over, 33 people, including the gunman, were dead and at least 15 more were injured.
“I was terrified,” said Ms. Otey, a junior whose class met in the room above the one where much of the shooting took place.