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US gunman was an Asian-origin student: university

world Updated: Apr 17, 2007 17:32 IST

AFP
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The gunman in a massacre that killed 33 people on a Virginia campus was a student of Asian origin and may have acted with a second suspect, the university's president said on Tuesday.

"It appears that the second shooter was a resident in our dormitory ... it appears he was an on-campus resident," Virginia Tech University Charles Steger said in an interview on ABC television.

Asked if he meant that there were two people involved in the killings, he said: "That's what we're trying to confirm ... The possibility exists."

He confirmed that the gunman who shot himself after the shooting rampage was an Asian male.

Two bouts of shootings rocked the university in the town of Blacksburg early Monday morning. Two people were shot dead in a dormitory before a shooter rampaged through a classroom building two hours later, killing a further 30 and turning the gun on himself.

Student Erin Sheehan, who survived after the gunman barged into her German class and fired repeatedly, told CNN the attacker was of Asian appearance, wearing a short-sleeved tan shirt and black ammunition vest.

The Chicago Sun Times daily cited an unnamed official source as saying that authorities were investigating whether he was a Chinese man who came to the United States in August 2006 on a student visa issued in Shanghai.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao in Beijing said China could not confirm the report.

Steger could not confirm whether the student was Chinese.