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Gun jammed in Virginia college shooting

The high-powered hunting rifle used Tuesday in the shooting at Northern Virginia Community College jammed when the gunman tried to fire a third shot, said Maj. Ray Colgan, assistant police chief for criminal investigations in Prince Wiliam County.

Police allege that Jason M. Hamilton, 20, was disgruntled over his grade in a math class and fired two shots at his math teacher inside a full classroom at the Woodbridge campus. But he didn't stop after two shots, police said. Rather, they said, the gun malfunctioned.

Hamilton bought the Marlin 30-06 Monday and the ammunition Tuesday at Dick's Sporting Goods in Woodbridge, Colgan said. It had a 26-inch barrel. He carried the weapon on campus in a black canvas bag. After the rifle jammed, he propped it against the entry to the classroom and took a seat outside the doorway to wait for police, Colgan said.

Colgan said police "have not found anyone at this point who said there was an indication he had threatened to do this or gave an indication of it."

Carlene Mackereth, spokesman for the college, said no one knew he had taken the gun to campus. "I believe the first we knew about a gun was when the shots were fired," she said.

Colgan commended campus police and Prince William police for a quick response and a campus alert system that saw the first county officer arriving in less than a minute and students and staffed warned to shelter in place.

No red flags came up during a state police background check before the purchase of the weapon, a police source said.

Hamilton, of Baneberry Circle in Manassas, has been charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a school zone in connection with the incident. The teacher has declined to discuss the shooting.

Hamilton made a brief appearance before a magistrate Wednesday and has hired an attorney. The attorney declined comment..

-- Clarence Williams, Jonathan Mummolo, Mary Pat Flaherty, Tom Jackman

By Mary Pat Flaherty  |  December 9, 2009; 3:58 PM ET
Categories:  Clarence Williams , Mary Pat Flaherty , Pr. William , Tom Jackman , Updates  
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What? It's not an "assault rifle"?! It's only a bolt action hunting rifle? BAN IT, BAN IT, BAN IT!

That is, of course, the liberal impulse.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | December 9, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

New slogan for Virginia: "Virginia is for Campus Shooters"

Posted by: PepperDr | December 9, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Those aged 18-20 are also adults and not "kids" or "teens", meaning they shouldn't be called those terms. Good thing the Professor was not injured or murdered by the young man because the gun jammed. It's terrible to the length the young man went to in trying to murder the Professor by concealing the gun in a gym bag at the college and trying to shoot the Professor three times.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | December 9, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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