State observes Tech tragedy

By: Laura Geller – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Saturday marks a somber anniversary in the Commonwealth. Four years ago, a deranged gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech, killing 32 people and injuring dozens more. Events were held throughout the Commonwealth to remember the massacre.

Thirty-two times this morning the bells of capitol square rang. Thirty -two times for thirty-lives tragically and senselessly lost. Those left behind and the families of the 27 injured by Seung Hui Cho's bullets remember exactly where they were, exactly what they were doing and exactly how they felt.

Lori Haas' daughter Emily nearly lost her life that day.

"First I heard about it was a phone call a 10:38 that morning," she said. "She said, 'hi mommy. It's Emily. I've been shot."

The Haas family rushed to Blacksburg, sobbing and praying the entire way.

"My daughter was alive and there were so many other families out there driving the same drive as us but they were picking up dead kids," she said.

Many of the Tech families did not come to the capitol for the official state remembrance ceremony. Instead they thought it was important to go back to the scene of the massacre and spent the day in Blacksburg.

The anniversary of the rampage always brings a roller coaster of emotions for Emily, who graduated from Tech in 2009. For her it's a very sad day.

"It's emotionally difficult to think about what happened to her and so many others there were so many less fortunate than her," Haas said.

Martha Pinard works at Tech but spent the morning in Richmond. She hopes the school's legacy moves beyond the evil of one man.

"I think we should commemorate this day but we should remember all the good things that happen at Virginia Tech, all the research and students that come out of there that go on to do great things," she said.

Haas says while some good legislation has come from the Tech massacre, there is more work to be done to close what's been called the gun show loophole and prevent mentally unstable people from getting guns.

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