Student in Virginia Charged with School Shooting
Recent news in December 2009 revealed that school violence is not just limited to elementary and secondary schools, but can occur in colleges as well. In Woodbridge, Virginia, a community college student opened fire in a crowded classroom on his math professor. As a result, he was charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a school zone.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the shooting, which occurred on one of the campuses that belongs to one of the largest university systems in the state. Of course, this news runs reminiscent of the shootings at Virginia Tech that occurred in 2007 and killed 32 people.
The police in Prince William County said that they completed an inspection, as well as an interview with the female math teacher that was the target of the student’s aggression. As for the shooter, his name is Jason Mitchell Hamilton, 20, and he began shooting in the classroom around 2:40 pm on December 8, 2009. He entered the classroom yielding a high-powered rifle and he cocked the weapon, the teacher who was his target yelled at the other students to take cover. The teacher immediately ducked under a desk and students began running out of the room. After firing two shots, Hamilton left the classroom and walked out into the hallway after laying down his weapon. It was then that he simply sat calmly in a chair and waited for the police to arrive to arrest him.
One of the issues that other students and teachers within the building faced was the fact that they didn’t really know what to do. Some didn’t hear the shots, but they had gotten word that there was a shooting within the classroom. They didn’t know if they were to wait or if they were to run. They simply had no idea because there are no such protocols in place. One faculty member had told a sociology professor that she believed everyone was supposed to stay in place in the case of a shooting, so the students returned to their classrooms where they observed police officers with drawn guns from their windows.
Even though word of mouth had traveled quickly, some students and staff state that there were no intercom messages or text messages to the staff until an hour after the shooting had occurred. A university spokeswoman states that there were text messages sent to the 8,500 students and school employees alerting them of the danger. It is said the first text was sent at 2:54 pm and the intercom announcement at 2:55 pm.
It is said that Hamilton was a young man who kept to himself and did not have a lot of friends. He was not the type you would see on the street and he would start chatting. As for his motive, that has not been released.