Support our mission

The body count kept rising.

First one confirmed kill.

Then 10.

Then 20.

Then 30.

“It was unreal,” Chris Roessler recalled.

He sat, dumbfounded in his Virginia Tech dorm room Monday, watching the nation’s deadliest shooting unfold and the death count rise even more.

“We were all in disbelief. Everyone was shocked,” the pre-veterinary science student said Tuesday during a phone interview from the campus in Blacksburg, Va.

“We were in shock,” said Roessler, who graduated last year from the Department of Defense Dependents Schools’ David G. Farragut High School in Rota, Spain. “We still are today.”

He said he sat fixated in front of the television Tuesday, hoping — no, praying — he didn’t know any more of the 30 people gunned down Monday in Norris Hall. He was not a student of any of the professors whose names were revealed as victims Tuesday.

He already knew of one person who was killed: Ryan Clark, a resident assistant at West Ambler Johnston Hall, the dormitory just one street from Roessler’s college home.

“We’d play basketball together.”

Across the Atlantic Ocean late Monday, Roessler’s father said one reality of serving overseas is “you’re always waiting for that middle-of-the-night phone call.”

“And if you spend enough time overseas, eventually that call will come,” said Glenn Roessler, resident agent-in-charge of Naval Criminal Investigative Service at Naval Station Rota.

But this time, it bore good news.

His son was fine.

“Still, it’s been hard concentrating at work today,” he said after a late night of watching news broadcasts.

London Central High School senior Janet Parker, 18, was at the Virginia Tech campus April 11, just five days before the shootings, on a tour of the college.

“It’s kind of hard to believe because I was just there,” Parker said of the slayings.

The campus tour took her past Norris Hall, where the majority of the shootings took place, but not inside the building, she said.

Virginia Tech is on Parker’s short list of universities to attend this fall, and she said Monday’s events wouldn’t prevent her from going.

“The area is pretty safe, so I don’t think it would happen again,” she said.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up