East grad: Peaceful morning shattered

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East grad: Peaceful morning shattered

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by BOB RECOTTA
Published: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:42 PM CDT

<a href="mailto:rrecotta@the-leader.com">rrecotta@the-leader.com</a>

BLACKSBURG, VA. | Sara Marchese was studying alone in her dorm room lounge when the quiet Monday morning was shattered by an announcement over the Virginia Tech public address system.

"There was 10 minutes straight of sirens," said Marchese, who is in her freshman year at Virginia Tech after graduating from Corning East High School. "Everyone in the hall was on their cell phones. We got an e-mail about the shooting. That&#39;s when we flipped on the news."

Shortly after the first alarm sounded, an emergency message came over the campus&#39; PA system.

"They said it was a state of emergency, with the message repeating," Marchese said. "They told us to stay inside and keep away from windows. It was the first time the PA system had ever been used."

Peter Marchese, Sara&#39; father, received the news about the campus shooting from a message his daughter left on his answering machine.

"Even on the answering machine, you heard the loud speakers going off," Peter Marchese said. "Since then, she&#39;s been in communication every 15 to 20 minutes."

Sara Marchese said the mood at the college changed as the body count rose.

"I was locked in with me and two good friends," she said. "When the count went from one to 20, everyone&#39;s jaws dropped."

Marchese said, during the lockdown, she and her friends kept a close watch on the television news. When the three-hour lockdown ended, the atmosphere around the campus had changed.

"We just went down to lunch," Marchese said. "Everyone&#39;s really down. Everyone&#39;s in shock. It was weird going in dining halls and seeing heavily armed police officers. The news was playing in the dining hall. That&#39;s not going to put a good mood in anybody."

Peter Marchese was surprised such violence could explode at someplace like Virginia Tech.

"When we went down to visit, it was a nice, quiet, quaint town a lot like Corning," Peter Marchese said. "This could happen to anybody."

Classes at Virginia Tech have been canceled today. Marchese said she might come home for a couple days, but the violent incident hasn&#39;t changed her view of the campus.

"I feel so safe here walking around," Sara Marchese said. "The place I work is a half-mile away. When I get off work at 10 or 11 p.m., I feel safe walking at night. That&#39;s why this was really shocking. It was just a fluke."

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Original Source: Corning Leader Daily
<a href="http://www.the-leader.com/articles/2007/04/17/news/local02.txt">http://www.the-leader.com/articles/2007/04/17/news/local02.txt</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5</a>.

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Bob Recotta

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2007-06-01

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Brent Jesiek

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5

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eng

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Bob Recotta, "East grad: Peaceful morning shattered," in The April 16 Archive, Item #354, http://april16archive.org/items/show/354 (accessed August 30, 2014).