Virginia Tech remembers victims on 15th anniversary of mass shooting

BLACKSBURG, Va. — On the 15th anniversary of a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, university officials and members of the Blacksburg community gathered to remember the 32 people killed.

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A moment of silence was held at 9:43 a.m. EDT, the moment a student opened fire and killed 32 students and faculty members and injured 17 others on April 16, 2007, WSET-TV reported. A 3.2-mile Run in Remembrance race also was held on campus, the television station reported.

The victims ranged in age from 18 to 75, WTTG-TV reported. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, according to the television station.

“It was so loud and because it was so violent, there were a lot of screams,” Kristina Anderson, who was shot three times as she was attending her French class that day, told People. “I was in shock and in a lot of pain.

“We were all unprepared.”

Twelve of Anderson’s classmates were killed, People reported.

Anderson, now 34 and a married mother of two, has dedicated her time to help prevent other shootings, according to People.

She founded The Koshka Foundation for Safe Schools, which is focused on violence prevention, especially in schools and colleges.

“We help communities that are working on safety preparedness and workplace violence plans,” Anderson told People. “Our main mission is to advocate for the creation of threat assessment and management teams.”

Mary Read, who spent her middle and high school years in Annandale, Virginia, was a freshman at Virginia Tech when she was killed, WRC-TV reported. This week, a stone path in the Canterbury Woods Park near her Annandale home leads to a memorial honoring Read, according to the television station. Signs bearing the “Never Forget” promise surround the site.

“What’s really touching, and what I really can’t put into words is the amount of love that the community has put into it,” Mary Read’s father, Peter Read, told WRC.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT at the Virginia Tech memorial to remember the people who were killed, WSET reported. A ceremonial candle will be extinguished at the April 16 Memorial at 11:59 p.m., according to the university’s “We Remember” website.

Seung-Hui Cho, 23, an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech and a resident of South Korea, was responsible for the shooting, according to police. Cho killed two people at the West Ambler Johnston dormitory. He then went to Norris Hall and chained the building shut. Cho fired into four classrooms, killing 30 people.

Cho fatally shot himself in the head when police stormed the building.