November 14, 2008

Virginia Tech Alert Fails First Trial

A warning system designed to alert students and faculty at Virginia Tech, scene of a 2007 massacre, failed in its first test, school officials say.

The alarm was sounded Thursday after a report of gunfire near a dormitory.

The system is an electronic alert that transmits a text or voice message to mobile devices such as cellphones and classroom message boards, USA Today reported. Only some of the messages got through, the school said.

University spokesman Larry Hincker said police believe that exploding cartridges from a nail gun in a trash bin caused what sounded to be gunfire.

On April 16, 2007, a student gunman killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech, and injured more than 20 others in a rampage that began in a dorm and ended in a classroom building.

A state report concluded that lives could have been saved if the university had notified students after the initial dorm room shooting and had locked down the campus.