The Phone Call from Room 211 (unreleased recording of 911 call from the Virginia Tech shooting; 2007)

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Screen Shot 2021-05-29 at 9.55.13 PM.png

The second floor of Norris Hall, pictured two months after the shooting

Status: Lost

Comment: never released, only discussed

Tags: NSFL


"The Phone Call from Room 211" refers to a 9-1-1 call that was placed by a Virginia Tech student during the 2007 mass shooting that occurred on campus. The phone call was "over ten minutes long" and recorded the shooter's rampage in Room 211. During the recording, you can hear the shooter enter the room, where he proceeds to kill twelve people, including the professor. The call features a second round of gunfire: those who were previously injured are then executed once the assailant comes back. The shooter's suicide is also picked up by the call; the line only disconnects once officials have arrived to pick up the bodies.

While the 9-1-1 call has been mentioned and talked about, no snippets or "previews" have ever been publicly released due to its graphic nature.

On April 16, 2007, 23-year-old English major Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Over the course of two hours, Cho murdered thirty-two people in the West Ambler-Johnston dormitory and second-floor classrooms in Norris Hall.

On the morning of April 16, 21-year-old Colin Goddard, an International Studies major, was in Room 211, attending an Intermediate French class taught by Professor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak. One of his classmates arrived late, stating that the police were at her dorm (West Ambler-Johnston) because there had been a double-homicide a few hours earlier. At around 9:40 a.m., "loud bangs" erupted from down the hall. According to Goddard, his professor stopped teaching and "her face dropped, like she knew what those sounds [meant]."

Couture-Nowak walked towards the door and peeked out into the hallway. She slammed it shut, yelling for someone to call 9-1-1. Goddard pulled out his cell phone as he and several other students hid underneath the desks for cover. The professor and another student attempted to barricade the door with their bodies as Cho walked towards the classroom. Now lying on the floor, Goddard turned away to face the back of the classroom as the shots grew louder and closer.

Less than a minute after Goddard began to speak to the 9-1-1 operator, Cho entered Room 211. He murdered Couture-Nowak and then sprayed bullets into the crowd of students. Goddard had managed to tell the operator his location and what he thought was going on; once Cho was in the room, he didn't say anything. Goddard was shot in the hip, buttocks, and leg (which shattered his femur). Upon impact, Goddard's body "jerked in response," causing the cell phone to fly out of his hand and glide across the floor, where it was picked up and concealed by Emily Haas. When Cho left, Goddard could still hear the operator talking as his peers moaned and coughed in response to their injuries. (Several backpacks began to vibrate from other cell phones; loved ones were attempting to call and check-in.)

Not even two minutes later, Cho returned. He executed those who were still moving, while Goddard played dead. When the final shot rang out, Goddard still refused to move. Unbeknownst to him, Cho had committed suicide as police were attempting to enter the building. The entire attack on Norris Hall lasted no more than eleven minutes. Goddard's cell phone was still on the line as officials entered the room and began to make note of those who were deceased.

Goddard was one of five people (including Haas) to survive the rampage in Room 211. His 9-1-1 call was credited with helping officials determine Cho's approximate location.