Two Virginia Tech students from Calcutta speak to The Telegraph of the sense of loss and the relief on campus:
Ayan De, an MBA student
“The overall mood of the students on the campus is one of total shock. There is also a sense of relief among many that they managed to avoid such a terrible incident. A lot of students are now asking why this horrible incident took place.
“The university authorities thought that the first incident was isolated, so they urged caution to students by email. They did their best to control the situation and to apprehend the shooter. Police are still investigating who the shooter was.
“Nobody who was at the scene seems to have recognised him. We’re not sure if he was a student at the university or not. (De spoke before the shooter was identified as South Korean student Cho Seung-Hui.)
“At 2 pm our time, we will have a convocation ceremony on campus, which I think almost everybody will attend. The governor of Virginia will be in attendance. He was in Tokyo yesterday, but rushed back. There are rumours that the President will be coming, but those are just rumours at the moment.”
Kaushik Das, a PhD student of engineering science and mechanics
“I was about to leave for my department from home and got the first email from the university about the shooting at West AJ — it’s a residential hall — then me and my roommate decided not to go to the campus at that time.
“I have not seen the full list of casualties yet. I will hate to see that. So many people were killed. There will certainly be somebody I know. We lost two of our best professors from our department. I am really sorry for them and their families. Both of them are world-famous researchers.
“Prof Librescu was a prominent scientist in the field of solid mechanics, aerospace structures, mechanics of plates and shells. His research helped build superior composite materials and better aerospace structures.
“Prof Granata was also a top-level scientist in bio-mechanics in USA. It’s a great loss not only personally to the department or me, but also to the world. We are now in total shock and disbelief.”