Cover Story

'Darkest moment'

"'Darkest moment'" Continued...

Issue: "'Darkest moment'," April 28, 2007

Other campus groups are crying out to God as well. Campus Crusade for Christ lost four students connected to its organization, according to director Jim Highfield. Baptist Collegiate Ministries did not immediately confirm reports that it lost two students. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship leader Wes Barts said everyone in his group is accounted for, but several students are dealing with the loss of friends.

Local churches organized prayer meetings, and churches as far away as Maryland sent groups to offer help with grief counseling and support.

Meanwhile, students who visited the drill field chapel the morning after RUF's service found something very different than the night before: pamphlets with "prayers of the ten major world religions." The guide included Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish prayers, as well as a Native-American prayer that began: "Oh Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you."

As the Virginia Tech community grasped for answers to its grief, law enforcement officials grasped to discern motives for Cho's evil acts. Two days after the killings, authorities got a stunning deluge of answers from the gunman himself. After the shootings in West Ambler Johnston Hall, Cho apparently mailed a grotesque packet of photos and a self-made video to NBC before killing 30 others in Norris Hall. NBC received the package on Wednesday morning.

The material included chilling images of Cho brandishing guns in violent poses, a 23-page written statement, and a video in which the killer lashed out at "rich kids" and other unknown subjects, declaring: "You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul, and torched my conscience. . . . Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people."

Haiyan Cheng says she'll never forget how weak and defenseless she felt the morning Cho stalked outside her classroom door. She clings to the hope that "God is in control." And she says she'll never forget how God spared her life. "I was so close," she says, "so close."

Victims

Ross Alameddine, 20, sophomore English major from Saugus, Mass.

Jamie Bishop, 35, German professor and Fulbright scholar who taught at Virginia Tech for two years, survived by his wife, Stephanie Hofer.

Brian Bluhm, 25, a graduate student in engineering from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A close friend said Bluhm would want to be remembered first and foremost as a Christian.

Ryan "Stack" Clark, 22, senior psychology, biology, and English major from Martinez, Ga., member of the Marching Virginians and student resident assistant, shot after rushing to the aid of the first victim, Emily Hilscher.

Austin Cloyd, 18, international studies major from Blacksburg, Va., active member of her church and had helped start a service project that rehabilitated homes in Illinois.

Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, 49, foreign language professor and former Montreal resident, survived by her husband, Jerzy Nowak.

Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, native of Peru studying international relations.

Kevin Granata, 45, engineering professor considered one of the top biomechanics researchers in the country, survived by his wife, Linda, and three children.

Matthew Gwaltney, 24, graduate student in civil and environmental engineering from Chester, Va., an only child.

Caitlin Hammaren, 19, sophomore international studies and French major from Westtown, N.Y.

Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, graduate student studying civil engineering from Bellefonte, Pa.

Rachael Hill, 18, freshman studying biology from Glen Allen, Va., an only child.

Emily Hilscher, 19, freshman animal and poultry sciences major from Woodville, Va., first victim of the shooting massacre.

Jarrett Lee Lane, 22, senior civil engineering major from Narrows, Va.

Matthew La Porte, 20, sophomore studying political science and French who was an Air Force cadet from Dumont, N.J.

Henry Lee, 20, freshman majoring in computer engineering from Roanoke, Va., one of 10 children; his family escaped Vietnam when he was 5.

Liviu Librescu, 76, engineering science and mathematics professor who was recognized internationally for his research in aeronautical engineering.

G.V. Loganathan, 51, professor of civil and environmental engineering; born in India, he had taught at Virginia Tech since 1982 and is survived by his wife, Usha, and two daughters.

Partahi Lumbantoruan, 34, doctoral student studying civil engineering from Indonesia.

Lauren McCain, 20, international studies major from Hampton, Va. On her MySpace page, McCain listed "the love of my life" as Jesus Christ.

Daniel O'Neil, 22, graduate student in environmental engineering from Lincoln, R.I.

Juan Ortiz, 26, graduate student in civil engineering from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, who had recently married Liselle Vega.

Minal Panchal, 26, first-year master's student from Mumbai, India.

Erin Peterson, 18, freshman international studies major from Chantilly, Va.

Michael Pohle, 23, senior biological sciences major from Flemington, N.J.

Julia Pryde, 23, biological systems and engineering graduate student from Middletown, N.J.

Mary Read, 19, freshman from Annandale, Va., active in Campus Crusade for Christ and a campus Bible study.

Reema Samaha, 18, freshman majoring in urban planning with a minor in international relations from Centreville, Va.

Waleed Shaalan, 32, graduate student in civil engineering from Egypt, survived by a wife and 1-year-old son.

Leslie Sherman, 20, sophomore history and international studies major from Springfield, Va.

Maxine Turner, 22, senior chemical engineering major from Vienna, Va.

Nicole White, 20, junior international studies major from Carrollton, Va.

-compiled by Kristin Chapman

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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