Virginia Tech massacre hits home for WBKO's own - Courtney Lassiter

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

The Virginia Tech tragedy is reminding us all to hold our loved ones a little tighter tonight. As we all try to make sense of how the events unfolded, we also try to connect with all the students on Virginia Tech's campus.

Two of the survivors are Courtney Lassiter's cousins.

Sarah Werlink is a freshman on VT's campus. Sarah was in her second class of the day when her professor told her about the first shooting.

"She shut the door at the end of math class and told us someone had been shot in the head," Sarah said.

Sarah also said her class waited 10 minutes for things to clear and was instructed to go back to their dorm rooms. Evidently, the worst wasn't over.

"I heard them say 'get down' 'get down' on the loud speakers 'this is an emergency, there's a shooter on the loose'," cried Sarah.

On instinct Sarah ran away from the gunshots she heard in the distance. As she ran Sarah said she prayed for her older sister, also a student.

"Everyone was crying and shaking and I called Carolyn to make sure she wasn't on campus," Sarah said.

"We're very lucky to be alive. We know that," Carolyn said.

Carolyn remembers the phone call and said she was never so happy to hear her sister's voice. She immediately took Sarah to her off-campus apartment.

"To be looking at it, where it happened, you just feel ill," Carolyn said.

"It was just like a blur. We found out he was in north and I found out how close I was to him," Sarah cried.

Sarah and Carolyn say the worst part of living the tragedy is the unknown.

"Everyone's holding their breath hoping they don't know anyone, but there's probably a good chance," Carolyn said.

Sarah did what she always does when she can't sleep. She wrote her innermost thoughts on her computer for the world to see.

"The scariest thing of all is the pain we suffer when the hysteria dies down. The cameramen are gone, the cops away from he buildings and reality seeping into every corner of our conscience. I pray to God to give us the strength to move forward," Sarah wrote.

Carolyn and Sarah are making the 10-hour drive to Winter Park, Fla., to be with the rest of their family.

After finding out one of her own cousins survived the shootings, Courtney is reminded of how important it is to stay in touch.

Here are Carolyn's diary entries following the Virginia Tech shooting:

Carolyn's thoughts: (my diary of events)

3 a.m. an hour of nothing

The wind is bone chilling tonight, and it is all I hear as it whips by my window at 3 am tonight, 4/17/07. I have never heard wind so violent before in my life.

I don’t know what to do with myself, nothing will erase it. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t listen to music, I can’t watch TV, I can’t shut my mind off. I can’t stop thinking how close my own little sister was to being gone today, instead of physically breathing in bed next to me at this very moment. Thank God!

Whose innocent Hokie faces will we all see up on the "victims" television screen at the campus gathering tomorrow? As the identities are revealed, who will they be? I am afraid.

Every time I shut my eyes the events of campus replay over and over and over like a never ending horror movie. The gun shots still ringing in my ears as I was outside on campus just a few buildings over at the time of them going off. I keep thinking how the families of the lost ones must feel at this hour of this messed up night of a messed up day. Please tell me this is all a bad dream.

There will be no sleep tonight.


Today we are all Hokies

"This is a tragedy in American history. So for today, forget any and all of your own personal college affiliations. For today, we are all Hokies." -CNN


Virginia Tech shootings

As off 2 p.m. 4/16/07: My cell phone is not working well with the jammed up lines, so just a note going out to my friends that I am okay and Sarah (my sis) is okay even though she was just yards away from the shootings when they happened. I love you Sarah you were being watched over today and I am here for you always. I am hoping too God that anyone else I know is safe. My deepest concerns go out to the losses of the students and their families (identities not given out yet). There are no words to express the feeling of sickness I have right now. Thank you too everyone who called/texted/messaged me with concerns I really appreciate the support. I love you all.

Who would have thought that today would be the day that Virginia Tech goes down in the books as the deadliest college shooting incident in U.S. history with at least 22 students killed along with the shooter (who killed himself)

Why did this happen? One moment someone is here the next they are gone.

God bless everyone

To view Carolyn's entire interview click here.

To view Sarah's entire interview click here.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sharon Location: Hartford, Ky on Apr 19, 2007 at 12:13 PM
    My heart is burdened. My thoughts and prayers are with all of ya'll. The grief is more intense for those who lost someone. The only thing I can say, "Walk on faith, trust in love."
  • by Katrina Location: Canada on Apr 18, 2007 at 02:40 PM
    I just want to say that my thoughts an prayers are with everyone in my home country that was affected. I also, want you to know that I am glad your cousins are okay. I have a cousin who works for a college down in Florida as a staff member and it scares me to think it could happen at any moment or place. I also want to agree with Martha in Bowling Green. There should be an alarm that automatically alerts campuses should there be another situation like this one.
  • by Martha Location: Bowling Green, Ky on Apr 18, 2007 at 09:24 AM
    My sympathy goes out to the parents of the students. I think that they need another system of getting the message out to college students if there is an emergency they said that they was going to text message everyone. That will jam the phone lines. I think that there should be a special alarm that sound when there is danger on our college campus. It should be an alarm different from the tornado. It should be heard all through the campus and the dorms. Why don't they come up with a plan. There will be so many text messages and the phone lines will be bonbarded with messages and they could very easily miss some one. Thanks for letting me voice my concerns.
  • by Terri Location: Georgia on Apr 18, 2007 at 07:19 AM
    I was emotionally touched by the story Courtney wrote about her cousins that were impacted by the massacre on Va. Tech. Thank you,Courtney for writing this story.
  • by kanitha Location: leitchfield on Apr 18, 2007 at 06:21 AM
    my heart goes out to all that had made it through prayers are with the family of the loss,will be praying for those went through this,that god will give you all the strenght you need to get through this. just keep praying god bless
  • by Adrienne Location: WKU on Apr 18, 2007 at 05:42 AM
    This is a time to show empathy towards these students, families, and staff at VT. We need to realize that this could have happened to us here at WKU and that it is important for students and staff at WKU to look for the warning signs or "red flag" behavior. This is a sad time for all colleges. It is devastating to hear of all the many students tell their experience at VT. This is a time where we should reflect on our relationships with our own families and friends and hold them close. They are all in my prayers and hoping they will find peace and comfort from the Lord.
  • by PATRICIA ANN SADLER Location: HART COUNTY KY on Apr 18, 2007 at 05:04 AM
  • by Linda Location: Roundhill on Apr 18, 2007 at 05:03 AM
    Thank God these two girls are together and realize how fortunate they are to still have each other. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the students and the parents of the victims and the parents of the survivors who spent hours wondering if their child was alive. Going back to campus will be tough,as will it be difficult for parents when their children go back. May God Bless each of you.
  • by Heather Location: WKU on Apr 17, 2007 at 08:25 PM
    i didn't have anyone at VT but the shock is still there for me. i can only imagine how something of this magnitude would affect me but i know i would probably end up driving myself crazy. everyone is still in my prayers.
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