Student Survivors Recount Shooting

ByABC News via logo

April 17, 2007 — -- Stories of terror and fear are emerging from the Virginia Tech campus, mostly from the students who survived the deadly shooting rampage.

Erin Sheehan, a freshman engineering major, was one of just four students able to walk out of the 9:05 a.m. German class in Norris Hall, room 207, taught by Jamie Bishop. Everyone else in the class was either killed or seriously injured. She played dead to survive, she said.

Sheehan seems to be one of the few students alive who actually saw the gunman.

"He peeked into my German class, a very small class, and no one usually shows up late.So it was very strange that someone was peeking in twice. And the teacher stopped because he was bothered by this twice, and we all thought it was a little bit funny," Sheehan told "Good Morning America" today.

Sheehan said the student appeared to be lost.

"It was strange that someone at this point in the semester would be lost, looking for a class," she said.

In a separate interview, Sheehan told The Associated Press that the shooter was "just a normal-looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout-type outfit. He wore a tan button-up vest, and this black vest, maybe it was for ammo or something."

The shooter has been identified as 23-year-old Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-hui.

Sheehan said people in her classroom heard shots fired before the gunman returned to her classroom yet again.

"We had already heard gunshots at that point, but we didn't think it was real. Then he came in and started shooting," she said.

Alec Calhoun, 20, was in an engineering class taught by professor Liviu Librescu in room 204 of Norris Hall.

"It sounded like an enormous hammer, just over and over again, every one or two seconds, and then we heard the screams and realized what was happening," Calhoun said.

Many students dropped to the floor and tried to seek cover behind desks, while Librescu tried to bar the door. Librescu, who is being called a hero for trying to protect his students, did not survive, according to recent reports.

Then several students began jumping out of the second-story windows of the classroom. Calhoun was one of the last people to jump.

"The two people behind me actually got shot, so it's really lucky that I got out to start with," Calhoun told "Good Morning America." "Someone on the other side of the room ripped the screens off and kicked the windows open."

"And so I could see the people jump in front of me and a couple of people broke ankles, legs," Calhoun continued. "So I aimed for a bush and I hit the bush first, so I ended up OK."

Sheehan said she is uncomfortable about how the situation was handled by campus officials. Students were initially told to run from the classroom, but no one knew where to run, she said.

"I felt uncomfortable leaving the building initially because this isn't a Columbine situation where they told you stay in your rooms. They just told us to run out with these policemen and we didn't know where to run."

"The shooter in Norris Hall was still on the loose at that point. So we were pretty much just running out of there with no knowledge of where he could be," she said.

Sheehan also said that she checked her e-mail right before class at 9 a.m., but there was no warning about the first shooting earlier that morning.

"This was a 7:15 incident and a 9:05 class. There is definitely time for an e-mail to be sent and people told to stay in their dorms or apartments," Sheehan said. "I think at least 30 people could have been spared."

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