The all-enveloping bubble of college life burst loudly on a frigid April day in Blacksburg, Va., when 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui went on a rampage at Virginia Tech, killing 32 fellow students and wounding 23 before turning the gun on himself. TIME’s cover paid tribute to 24 of the victims, while the cover story reported on the history of violence and mental instability that triggered Cho’s actions — and their bloody consequences:
Norris Hall immediately became a 72,000-sq.-ft. crime scene; federal agents called it the most horrifying they had ever encountered. There were bodies in four different classrooms and in the stairwell. A federal source said it appeared that as many as “a couple of hundred” rounds had been discharged. They didn’t see a wild rampage, a maniac who suddenly snapped: they saw calculation.