My day


My day


Here I am only going to share the events of my day on April 16, 2007. It feels better tell the story, it's seems more real, more raw, but that also means that it's something that I can accept as tangible and can move on from.

My friend and I always eat breakfast together on Monday, Wednsday, and Friday mornings before our 8 o'clock Foundation Design Lab. Mon. April 16th, I got up at 6:15am, as usual, took my shower and got my stuff together for class. We met outside of D2 at 7:15am.

The first shooting was called in at about 7:15am.

Mandy lives in West AJ on the 7th floor.

She took the elevator down and walked over, never knowing what was really behind the elevator doors as she passed the 4th floor.

As we gazed through the glass windows facing AJ and Washington Street, eating our breakfast, we noted and first ambulance, followed later by another. Mandy explained by saying how very many accidental injuries happen at the gyms all the time, neither of us knowing the destination or the calling.

We arrived at Cowgill Hall, fourth floor studios at around 8am or 8:15am. My study is right next to the windows overlooking the commuter parking lots;, Mandy's has a perfect view of the backside of Burrass, as well as the GBJ Student Center to the right and Hancock and Norris on the left of the plaza.

The first e-mails were sent at about 9:15am and after checking my e-mail I called my mother, not just to reassure her but also to reassure my grandparents once the found out and began barraging my mother with phone calls. As I was talking we noticed a police officer sprinting to the other side of Cowgill, many of us followed to the other side of the fourth floor to see what the fuse was about. rounding the corner of the short, wide hallway, we were shocked to find half of the studios and the custodians already studing the movements of the officers intently from the fourth floor windows. I joined their ranks, along with Mandy. We watched as the SWATT team ran to the door on our side of Norris; I called my boyfriend, having just been let out of an engineering class in Hancock, directly behind Norris and beside Cowgill. At first I saw a few people, normal people running around on the plaza, and I was unsure of whether or not he could run to Cowgill to join us, then the we heard the shots.

Stay where you are, someone will find you.

Only of few of the shots rang loud and clear, and we watched with hushed anticipation as the man with the camera phone took video of the officers and recorded the ominous noises.

Get out of there!

The SWATT team went into Norris.

The man finally left and no more civilians were in sight, besides a funny little asain man with his lunch box, thinking that it was like any other ordinary day. An officer behind a tree quickly shooed him away.

And then people began running out of the building.

It was clear they were in shock and terror, their movements quick and with an almost robotic jerk to each motion, each backward glance, each forward, away, rush. We saw two groups retreat from the building before we were sent back from the windows until the professors were given some idea of what to do with us. We were not well informed being on the fourth floor. But momentarily, not five minutes after we were sent away, we were told to immediately retreat to the 1st floor, room 100, a room with only two entrances and exits, and no wiindows; it is entirely self contained within the core of the building.

We all began hurridly calling our friends and loved ones, knowing this was more serious than we had orginially assumed. After a half an hour, my boyfriend had been moved to a conference room in Randolph, connected to Hancock, where they watched the news, waiting for any tiny scrap of information, and we in Cowgill were all sent to the undergroung depths of Burchard Hall, beneath the plaza, where we were kept in side rooms away from the glass pyramids above, but protected by the automatically locking doors on the stairwells. It must be understood that Cowgill is undergoing renovations in the coming year or years to revamp some security issues, such as the fact that our front door refuses to automatically lock with the rest of campus. Therefore, we were safer in Burchard than in Cowgill.

From then on we played the waiting game, with two liasons with the outside world, showing up two or three times over the next hours to give us the grim news of the rising death count.

Finally we were released close to noon, much of time had slipped away from us in our safehold, trying to either flood our senses with news, or shut it out. We were told that we could only leave if we went away from campus, then we were told students were allowed back, but Mandy, Rachel, and I were sure that that didn't include them. Rachel is from my studio and also lives in AJ. We met up with Bryan, my boyfriend, and crossed to Burrass, where his aunt was able to gather us together and take us to Bryan's appartment off campus, behind the Kroger.

She was parked on the Drillfield.

I still can't stand that silence, it resonates through my memory as the sound of death, the final sound. It was unbearable, and the police were so solemn.

Once at Bryan's, the four of us begain a frenzied phone tag with our loved ones and listened to their worries between snatches of the news cast as all the information was slowly trickling in, and the count slowly rose.

I remember when there were 2
33, counting the shooter of course.

And now we wait for the names.

My mother came by to check on us, but I told her I needed to stay there, close to campus and my student family, I needed them. I didn't want to be on campus, but I NEEDED to stay near it, them.

Rachel and some of her friends from AJ went to her uncles.
We stayed at Bryan's to wait out the night.

We had already cried for our dancing sister Reema and a friend of a friend, Ryan.

We continued to grieve as Bryan's Professor, Dr. Loganathan was revealed, and then four of his five Measurements Teaching Assistants. Mandy and I's former French teacher, Madame Couture, classmates, Ross and Rachel, the second floor Residential Advisor of my building, Peddrew-Yates' Caitlin, a mere aquantance, Austin, and a hometown boy, Jarret.

These were the people we knew

These are the people we know

These are our hokie brothers and sisters, and we will never forget 4-16-07


Kristin Fields




Kristin Fields




Kristin Fields, “My day,” The April 16 Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,