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US shootout leaves Bush shocked

A shootout at the Virginia Tech University campus left 33 people dead.

world Updated: Apr 17, 2007 17:30 IST

United States President George W Bush has expressed shock at the campus shootings in a Virginia university that left 33 people dead and said his administration would do everything possible to assist with the investigation.

"Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today. The exact total has not yet been confirmed, but it appears that more than 30 people were killed and many more were wounded," Bush said in a specially televised speech at the State department.

"My administration would do everything possible to assist with the investigation, and I pledge that we would stand ready to help local law enforcement and the local community in any way we can during this time of sorrow," he said.

"Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community," the president said.

The White House staff said it was monitoring the situation in what was already one of the deadliest school massacres in US history and federal government assets were on stand-by in case the state of Virginia asks for help.

The staffers are also reportedly in touch with University officials for a possible Presidential visit to the campus sometime later this week.