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

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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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