Gun down Va. Tech professor saved students' lives

Professor Liviu Librescu
Professor Liviu Librescu

Tears and prayers mark a service to honor the victims of Monday's deadly shooting spree at Virginia Tech.

Charles Steger, VA Tech president, states, "It's overwhelming, almost paralyzing, yet our hearts and minds call to us to come together to share our individual attempts to comprehend the incomprehensible, to make sense of the senseless, and to find ways for our community to heal."

Many are still coming to terms with the rampage that killed 33 people and injured many more. Crowds filled the school's basketball arena Tuesday as people tried to find solace or comfort. And we're learning more Tuesday night about the man police say pulled the trigger.

Col. Steve Flaherty, VA State Police, says, "What went on during that incident certainly caused tremendous chaos and panic in Norris Hall. As a result, it's greatly complicated - our being able to process the scene."

Investigators are beginning to learn a bit more about the alleged gunman, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui.

Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech University, states, "The only thing that we know about him was that he was a loner."

He came to Virginia Tech from a home just outside Washington D.C. The senior English major had written papers that were so graphic and disturbed professors so much, they recently suggested he visit with school counselors before this massacre.

One of Cho's final compositions was reportedly a rambling suicide note which included rants against what he called: "rich kids, debauchery and deceitful charlatans."

On the Virginia Tech Campus, a campus and community struggling with the facts, 32 dead and dozens injured. Col Steve Flarherty, VA State Police, describes, "Victims were found in at least four classrooms as well as the stairwell."

And trying to somehow focus on those who may have prevented things from becoming even worse. "We know that there were a number of heroic events that took place, students and faculty alike."

Seventy-six-year-old Professor Liviu Librescu was apparently one of those heroes. Students say the holocaust survivor barricaded a classroom door, so they could escape through a window before he was eventually gunned down. It is the stories like that one that provide desperately needed hope for survivors.

"We will eventually recover, but we will never forget," says a survivor.

Thousands of those survivors gathered for a memorial service on the campus Tuesday joined by President Bush. "For many of you here today [Tuesday], it was the worst day of your lives. It is impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering."

A country that mourns what this small community must continue to endure.

Further evidence that Cho was a troubled loner, classmates say on the first day of a literature class last year, students took turns introducing themselves. When it was Cho's turn, he said nothing. The professor then looked at the sign in sheet and noticed Cho had written a question mark by his own name.