In a scene reminiscent of other school shootings, a Northern Virginia Community College teacher spotted a weapon and ducked to avoid gunfire. Students ran from the classroom building while others barricaded themselves inside, piling desks in front of doors.
This time, though, no one was hurt.
Police said Jason Michael Hamilton, 20, of Manassas, Va., was a disgruntled student apparently upset about his grades when he decided to open fire in a classroom Tuesday with a Marlin 30-06 bolt-action rifle, but did not hit anyone and surrendered peacefully in a hallway.
Police said Hamilton fired two shots at his professor before his new rifle jammed. Hamilton was unable to continue shooting at
mathematics professor Tatyana Kravchuk, who ducked behind a desk and was not hit, Prince William County police Maj. Ray Colgan said.
"Probably what prevented a further tragedy was that the gun jammed," Colgan said.
Hamilton bought the Marlin .30-06 bolt-action rifle Monday at a Dick's Sporting Goods store near the campus, police said.
Police said they found him sitting unarmed in a chair in the hallway. After officers confirmed that he was the alleged shooter, he was taken into custody. He was later charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a school zone and is being held without bond. He was arraigned Wednesday, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Friday.
A campus police officer heard the shots at about 2:40 p.m. and contacted Prince William County police on their shared radio system in the Main Administration Building on the Woodbridge campus.
A parent of a student who heard a gunshot while inside a fourth-floor classroom told InsideNoVA.com that her 18-year-old daughter saw a gunman walk into the classroom and point the gun at the teacher.
"She said the teacher told the class to run, and when they did, she said she heard two more gunshots go off," said Christine Brown, who rushed from Stafford to be with her daughter.
"When I got to the front of the building, that's when I heard the second shot coming from the building, so that's when I knew it was gunshots," campus police Officer Anthony Mellis said.
People at the school panicked, NOVA student Gael Muteba said, but Prince William County police quickly responded to the campus officer's report -- "A minute or two, at least two to five police cars showed up," Muteba said -- and officers apprehended a young man in a hallway, Chinn said.
"Once the other officers showed up, we formed our team, we went directly to the area, found the individual sitting on a chair outside Room 412," Mellis said. "We were already down the hallway, so when we peered around the corner, we saw him so we challenged him and we had him come toward us, and that's when he confirmed that he was the one who actually fired the shots."
No injuries were reported.
NOVA issued an e-mail alert for the Woodbridge campus, advising people to shelter in place because of an emergency on campus. Freedom High School across the street from the campus had already dismissed but was placed in secure-the-building mode, which means the doors were locked and people were not allowed to come and go as usual.
Kravchuk teaches mostly developmental math classes. She has taught at the school for about two years and is of Russian decent.
"I'm hearing that she did make some attempt to identify him to students so, I assume, that if something happened to her, people would know who he was," Chinn said.
A neighbor described Hamilton as a loner who lived in his family's basement in an affluent new subdivision near the school in
Woodbridge. Two police cars were outside his home and wouldn't let reporters close.