- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2007

BLACKSBURG — As the sun set on the rolling hills of the Virginia Tech campus earlier this evening, students and residents, like observers the world around, tried to make sense of the bloodiest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

“It’s almost unthinkable that something like this could happen at a college in the United States or anywhere in the world,” said Jacob Edwards, a 23-year-old geography major from D.C. “It almost hasn’t even sunk it yet, but you could just see it in people’s faces, their eyes and their blank expression.

“I think everyone in this town and university is going to remember this the rest of their life,” he said.

The spree that left more than 30 dead sent shockwaves through the idyllic setting here in the sloping hills of the Blue Ridge mountains, where sheep, cows and horses graze in the nearby fields.

At a nearby gas station, Ryan Dominick, a 19-year-old engineering student from Mississippi, shook his head in disbelief.

“I pray that I don’t know anyone” who died, he said. “I’m staying away from campus as long as I can.”

He added, “This can happen anywhere.

“I don’t think Virginia Tech brought this on itself,” he said.

Markeith Banner, also 19 from Washington D.C., said he and his friends were “devastated” and that he was waiting to hear about whether a friend was alive.

“They’re not releasing the names and one of the friends we are cool with we haven’t gotten in contact with him,” he said. “Until the names come back we can’t say what has happened.”

The news flooded the local radio stations, and people poured out their support.

Many said they will wear the school’s maroon color tomorrow in honor of the university.

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