Eclectic Lives From Around the World: 32 Victims of Virginia Tech Massacre Mourned


April 18, 2007 — -- A dancer. A Holocaust survivor. A biomechanic trying to crack the code for cerebral palsy. All perished in the deadliest shooting on a college campus in U.S. history.

As officials piece together the events of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech, the names of all 32 victims have been confirmed by ABC News' original reports and other news accounts.

Among the latest victims identified was Indonesian graduate student Partahi Lumbantoruan, 34, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry told CBS.

Minal Panchal, a first-year master's building sciences student in the faculty of architecture, was also reported killed. The 26-year-old from Mumbai, India, was found dead at Norris Hall, where 30 students and faculty were fatally shot, according to The Associated Press.

Her mother, a widow who lives in India, and her New Jersey-based brother-in-law have not decided whether to send her body to India, the Indian Embassy told the AP. She is the second Indian killed in the shootings.

Relatives confirm that Ross Abdallah Alameddine, a Virginia Tech sophomore, was heading off to French class in Norris Hall when he was gunned down in Room 211, where the killer, Seung-hui Cho, and 30 victims died.

Alameddine was an English major from Saugus, Mass.

"I just got word he was of the ones killed in the classroom," said a sobbing Lynnette Alameddine, moments after a chaplain called to tell her that her 20-year-old son was among the dead, according to a report in the Boston Herald.

Earlier Wednesday night, Lynnette spent hours calling police and hospitals, which she said were unresponsive to her frantic pleas for information, according to the Herald.

Ross had just declared English as his major. A graduate of Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Mass., he was described by his headmaster Paul J. Moran as a "bright and engaged student."

Freshman Mary Karen Read, 19, of Annandale, Va., was also in that class and suffered the same fate as Alameddine. A freshman, she was born into an Air Force family and had lived in Texas and California. She had yet to declare a major, her aunt, Karen Kuppinger of Rochester, N.Y., told The Associated Press.

"I think she wanted to spread her wings," said Kuppinger, who said Read had struggled to adjust to the college but had recently made friends and was looking into a sorority.

Ryan "Stack" Clark, a member of the school's marching band, the Marching Virginians, and a student resident assistant, was among the first victims. The resident adviser in West Ambler Johnson Hall reportedly rushed to the aid of the first victim, Emily Jane Hilscher, and was fatally shot. Hilscher lived next door to him in the dorm.

Clark, 22, was just a month away from graduating. He was believed to be among the first victims in the shootings.

Bryan Clark said his twin brother was a triple graduate in psychology, biology and English and stayed on Virginia Tech's campus in anticipation of graduation ceremonies in May.

"He was staying just until we could come to graduation," his brother said. "Just wrong place, wrong time, I guess."

Clark was in his fifth year in the band, serving as its personnel officer, according to the band's Web site. The site says Clark also enjoyed making T-shirts and intended to pursue a doctorate in psychology with a concentration in cognitive neuroscience after graduating.

"The coroner and two sheriff deputies came by and let us know. … I still haven't quite comprehended what is going on," his brother told ABC's Diane Sawyer. "I'm not sure how long it will actually take, but at this point we just miss him and love him."

"He was the most loving person that you could ever meet," said Clark's sister Nadia. "He loved anyone that he ever met. No matter what, he was always there. He had something sarcastic to say to make you laugh … but he was always there to help you."

"I'd have to say he was definitely very loud, very outgoing," said his friend Floyd Miller. "About any little thing he could get on you for, his sarcastic humor, [he was] always willing to do something for you"

Hilscher, a freshman from Woodville, Va., was one of the first victims. She lived next door to Clark and was an animal, poultry and equine sciences major. The Associated Press reported that she was an animal lover and had worked in a veterinarian's office.

"She was an amazing person," said David Miller, a friend of Hilscher's. "One of the best people I have ever known."

Maxine Turner of Vienna, Va., also died. A senior and chemical engineering major, Turner had formed an engineering sorority for "females who never had female friends," according to the sorority's Web site.

The group was "a chance for them to meet great girls with similar interests" and to "build professional skills to help girls after graduation," she wrote on the site.

Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, was also among the victims. He was a native of Peru, studying international relations. His father, Flavio Perez, told RPP radio in Peru that he was trying to get a humanitarian visa from the U.S. consulate there. A spokesman at the embassy said the father would "receive all the attention possible when he applies."

Reema Samaha, a freshman of Lebanese descent from Centreville, Va., was also killed. The 19-year-old had been a dance captain at Westfield High School, the same high school that the alleged shooter had attended. Samaha's brother, Omar, is a Virginia Tech graduate. He'd visited campus this past weekend to see his sister in a dance recital.

Samaha's father, Joseph Samaha, told CNN that he was anxious about seeing his daughter's body. His wife, he said, was "distraught" but the family was "strong."

"She's motivator, and she keeps me going," Samaha said. "Dance was her life."

Also killed was freshman Lauren McCain of Hampton, Va. According to her MySpace page, McCain was planning to major in international studies. She lists her hometown in Oklahoma.

Other victims identified from a variety of local media and television reports were Caitlin Hammaren, a sophomore and international studies and French major; Jarrett Lane of Narrows, Va., a senior and civil engineering major; Henry Lee of Roanoke, Va., a freshman and computer engineering major; Leslie Sherman, a sophomore and history and international studies major; Matt La Porte of Dumont, N.J., a freshman and university studies major; Erin Peterson, a graduate of Virginia's Westfield High School; Austin Cloyd, a freshman from Charlotte, N.C., and international studies and French major; Rachael Hill of Richmond, Va., an interdisciplinary studies major; graduate students Julie Pryde and Matthew Gwaltney; and Waleed Shaalan, Michael Pohle Jr. and Brian Bluhm.

Daniel O'Neil, 22, a graduate student in environmental engineering from Lincoln, R.I., was among those killed in Norris Hall, according to Connecticut College, where O'Neil's father, Bill, is director of major gifts.

O'Neil graduated in 2002 from Lincoln High School and from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., before heading to Virginia, where he was also a teaching assistant. O'Neil played guitar and wrote his own songs, which he posted on a Web site.

His friend Steve Craveiro described him as smart, responsible and a hard worker -- someone who never got into trouble.

"He would come home from school over the summer and talk about projects, about building bridges and stuff like that," Craveiro said. "He loved his family. He was pretty much destined to be extremely successful. He just didn't deserve to have happen what happened."

Juan Ramón Ortiz, 26, a graduate student from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, was killed while teaching, according to Primera Hora in Puerto Rico. The teaching assistant was recently married, and his wife, Liselle Vega, is also a student at Virginia Tech.

Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, a Penn State graduate who was attending graduate school at Virginia Tech, was another victim in the shootings, said Paul Ruskin, spokesman for Penn State's Office of Physical Plant.

Herbstritt's parents were in Boston Monday to watch their daughter run in the Boston Marathon when the shootings occurred.

He was a graduate student studying civil engineering at Virginia Tech, according to the student directory on the college's Web site.

Thirty-five-year-old German professor Christopher James Bishop was among the first hit, according to his colleagues. Known as much for his gentle manner as for his signature long hair, Bishop was an avid hiker and a movie buff.

Known as Jamie, he rode his bike to campus and worked alongside his wife in the foreign languages department.

A few doors down, engineering professor Liviu Librescu confronted the gunman when he tried to enter his solid mechanics class. Students inside said Librescu tried to hold the door shut, giving some of them time to jump out the windows. The professor, a 22-year veteran of the university, was killed.

Librescu, 75, was a Holocaust survivor who emigrated from Israel. He died the same day Israel marked Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, according to

School administrators confirm that professor Kevin Granata -- one of the nation's top five researchers in biomechanics, spent his work life trying to crack the code of cerebral palsy -- was also killed. Granata, like Librescu, was a professor of engineering science and mechanics.

Also dead is G.V. Loganathan, 51, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. He was born in the southern Indian city of Chennai and had been at Virginia Tech since 1982. He won several awards for excellence in teaching, had served on the faculty senate and was adviser to about 75 undergraduate students.

His brother, G.V. Palanivel, told the NDTV news channel in India that "We all feel like we have had an electric shock, we do not know what to do. [He] has been a driving force for all of us, the guiding force."

Jocelyn Couture-Nowak, a professor of French from Montreal, was also a victim. Her husband, Jerzy Nowak, heads the horticulture department at the college.

The mother of two daughters, Couture-Nowak taught intermediate French at Virginia Tech for many years and was well liked and respected, according to Janell Watson, an assistant French professor.

"She was a wonderful colleague," Watson told the CBC. "She was a very dedicated teacher of French and seemed to be popular with the students. She was a proud Canadian, and dedicated to the French language and to Quebec."

Those who survived Monday's horrific events are banding together. But time isn't necessarily making it easier to cope.

"It's gotten even harder," Floyd Miller said. "We've gotten more reports of friends who are unaccounted for, and families haven't heard from them and they were in the classroom, so you just try to take it one by one."