Menu
Home

Virginia Tech Massacre: The Victims

The following is a list of victims killed by a gunman on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, with links to their personal Web pages where available (warning: some content may be graphic).

Photo Essay: The Victims

Ross Abdallah Alameddine

Alameddine, 20, of Saugus, Mass., was a sophomore who had just declared English as his major.

Friends created a memorial page on Facebook.com that described Alameddine as "an intelligent, funny, easygoing guy."

"You're such an amazing kid, Ross," wrote Zach Allen, who along with Alameddine attended Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Mass. "You always made me smile, and you always knew the right thing to do or say to cheer anyone up."

Alameddine was killed in the classroom building, according to Robert Palumbo, a family friend who answered the phone at the Alameddine residence Tuesday.

Alameddine's mother, Lynnette Alameddine said she was outraged by how victims' relatives were notified of the shooting.

"It happened in the morning and I did not hear (about her son's death) until a quarter to 11 at night," she said. "That was outrageous. Two kids died, and then they shoot a whole bunch of them, including my son."

Click here for Ross Alameddine's Web page.

Christopher James Bishop

Bishop, a 35-year-old German professor known as "Jamie," wore his hair long, rode his bike to campus and worked alongside his wife in the foreign languages department at Virginia Tech, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was known for his gentle manner and generosity toward students. He is the son of science fiction writer Michael Bishop.

"I don't think he was the type of person who had an enemy," Troy Paddock, a close friend whose wife, told the Times. "He was a very friendly person. He was a nice and helpful person."

The Georgia native was an avid hiker, movie and Atlanta Braves fan, and was said to be very popular with students.

"He was very outgoing, a very personable individual," Richard Shryock, the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, told the Times. "He was someone who took teaching very seriously and was a good colleague to be with."

Bishop earned bachelor's and master's degrees in German and was a Fulbright scholar at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany. He helped run an exchange program at Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany.

According to his Web site, Bishop spent four years living in Germany, where he "spent most of his time learning the language, teaching English, drinking large quantities of wheat beer and wooing a certain fraulein."

The "fraulein" was Bishop's wife, Stephanie Hofer.

Brian Roy Bluhm

Bluhm, 25, of Stephens City, Va., was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers, who announced his death before Tuesday's game against Kansas City.

"He went to a game last weekend and saw them win, and I'm glad he did," said Bluhm's close friend, Michael Marshall of Richmond, Va.

The master's student in civil engineering and water resources also received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering at Virginia Tech and was getting ready to defend his thesis. He had already accepted a job in Baltimore, Marshall said.

Bluhm moved from Iowa to Detroit to Louisville, Ky., before coming to Virginia. His parents moved to Winchester while he was in school, so Blacksburg became his real home, Marshall said.

Bluhm also loved the Hokies, and a close group of friends often traveled to away football games. But Marshall said it was his faith and work with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries that his friend loved most.

"Brian was a Christian, and first and foremost that's what he would want to be remembered as," he said.

Click here for Brian Bluhm's Web page.

Ryan Christopher Clark

Clark, a 22-year-old senior from Martinez, Ga., was called "Stack" by his friends, many of whom he met as a resident assistant at West Ambler Johnson Hall, where the first shootings took place.

He was "an amiable senior memorable for his ready smile and thoughtful ways," according to the student paper.

Clark was a fifth-year senior majoring in psychology who also was studying biology and English and hoped to pursue a doctorate in psychology with a focus on cognitive neuroscience. He was well-liked and a member of the university's marching band, and carried a 4.0 grade-point average.

Courtney Dalton, who met Clark two years ago when they worked together at a campus restaurant, described him as helpful and a good listener.

"When I was upset about something, he would come over and ask, 'Are you O.K.?' ... If you ever needed to talk about your problems, he'd listen," she said.

"He was just one of the greatest people you could possibly know," friend Gregory Walton, 25, said after learning from an ambulance driver that Clark was among the dead. "He was always smiling, always laughing. I don't think I ever saw him mad in the five years I knew him."

Click here for Ryan Clark's Web page.

Austin Michelle Cloyd

Cloyd, 18, an international studies major and member of the honors program from Blacksburg, Va., was so inspired by an Appalachian service project that helped rehabilitate homes that she and her mother started a similar program in their Illinois town, her former pastor said.

The Cloyds were active members of the First United Methodist Church in Champaign, Ill., before moving to Blacksburg in 2005, the Rev. Terry Harter said. The family moved when Cloyd's father, C. Bryan Cloyd, took a job in the accounting department at Virginia Tech, Harter said.

Harter, whose church held a prayer service for the family Tuesday night, described Cloyd as a "very delightful, intelligent, warm young lady" and an athlete who played basketball and volleyball in high school. But it was the mission trips to Appalachia that showed just how caring and faithful she was, he said.

"It made an important impact on her life, that's the kind of person she was," he said.

Jocelyne Couture-Nowak

Couture-Nowak was a French instructor and former Montreal resident originally from Truro, Nova Scotia.

She taught at Virginia Tech for eight years, along with her husband, Jerzy Nowak, a horticulture professor and the head of the horticulture department at Virginia Tech.

Couture-Nowak was passionate about trying to spread the French language, according to The New York times. Bernie MacDonald, an administrator at Nova Scotia Agricultural College where Couture-Nowak taught French, said she was "vibrant, enthusiastic and dynamic," the Times reported.

She helped establish the first French school in the town of Truro in 1997, according to the Times.

Couture-Nowak leaves behind a grown daughter named Francine and a second daughter in her mid-teens named Sylvie, friend Claire Russell told the Times.

Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva

Perez Cueva, 21, was a native of Peru and a sophomore majoring in international studies. He was active in the Peruvian campus community, according to The New York Times.

He had also lived in Woodbridge, Va.

Perez Cueva was killed while in a French class, said his mother, Betty Cueva.

Kevin Granata

Engineering science and mechanics professor Granata and his students researched muscle and reflex response and robotics.

Granata served in the military and later conducted orthopedic research in hospitals before coming to Virginia Tech. The head of the school's engineering science and mechanics department called Granata one of the top five biomechanics researchers in the country working on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy.

Engineering professor Demetri P. Telionis said Granata was successful and kind.

"With so many research projects and graduate students, he still found time to spend with his family, and he coached his children in many sports and extracurricular activities," Telionis said. "He was a wonderful family man. We will all miss him dearly."

Matthew Gregory Gwaltney

Gwaltney, 24, of Chester, Va., was a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, according to his father and stepmother, Greg and Linda Gwaltney. He also did his undergraduate work at Virginia Tech, graduating in 2005, The New York Times reported.

As a graduate student, he focused on stormwater management and along with Brian Bluhm served as a teaching assistant, according to the Times.

He worked on river restoration and mechanics, the Times reported, and also enjoyed playing softball and basketball.

Caitlin Millar Hammaren

Hammaren, 19, of Westtown, N.Y., was a sophomore majoring in international studies and French, according to officials at her former school district.

"She was just one of the most outstanding young individuals that I've had the privilege of working with in my 31 years as an educator," said John P. Latini, principal of Minisink Valley High School, where she graduated in 2005. "Caitlin was a leader among our students."

Minisink Valley students and teachers shared their grief Tuesday at a counseling center set up in the school, Latini said.

Click here for Caitlin Hammaren's Web page.

Jeremy Michael Herbstritt

Herbstritt, 27, was from Bellefonte, Pa., according to Penn State University, his alma mater and his father's employer. He had two undergraduate degrees from there, one in molecular biology and biochemistry and the other in civil engineering, according to The New York Times.

A 1998 graduate of Bellefonte Area High School in Pennsylvania and a Penn State graduate, Herbstritt was a Virginia Tech graduate student studying civil engineering.

He loved to run and was the kind of person who went out of his way to make others feel comfortable, the Times reported.

"His smile is half his face," family friend Pam Vaiana, the principal of Herbstritt's Catholic grammar school, told the Times.

He was the oldest in a family of four children — two boys and two girls — and was raised on a farm in western Pennsylvania, the paper reported. He was known for being happy and outgoing and was a track-and-field and cross-country running star.

Several former coaches said he wanted to compete in marathons for the rest of his life and had already run in three.

His parents — who were planning to visit their oldest son at college on the way back from watching his sister run the Boston Marathon, according to the Times — released this statement to the press: "Thoughts and prayers for the Herbstritt family are encouraged and deeply appreciated. The family also extends their deepest sympathies to the families of the other victims of this tragedy. The family's prayers are with them all."

Rachael Elizabeth Hill

Hill, 18, was a freshman studying biology at Virginia Tech after graduating from Grove Avenue Christian School in Henrico County.

Hill, of Glen Allen, Va., was an only child. She was popular and funny, had a penchant for shoes and was competitive on the volleyball court.

"Rachael was a very bright, articulate, intelligent, beautiful, confident, poised young woman. She had a tremendous future in front of her," said Clay Fogler, administrator for the Grove Avenue school. "Obviously, the Lord had other plans for her."

Her father, Guy Hill, said the family was too distraught to talk about Hill on Tuesday, but relatives were planning to have memorial events later in the week. "We just need some time here," he said tearfully.

Emily Jane Hilscher

Friends posting messages of tribute on Facebook.com Monday night remembered Hilscher, a 19-year-old freshman from Woodville, Va., as a vibrant girl with an engaging personality.

"Emily was a kind and wonderful person who always put a smile on my face," wrote Jessica Gould.

Hilscher, a freshman majoring in animal and poultry sciences, was known around her hometown as an animal lover.

"She worked at a veterinarian's office and cared about them her whole life," said Rappahannock County Administrator John W. McCarthy, a family friend.

According to several friends and neighbors of the family, her boyfriend, with whom she had attended high school and who is also a Virginia Tech student, had dropped her off for class before the rampage began.

A friend, Will Nachless, also 19, said Hilscher "was always very friendly. Before I even knew her, I thought she was very outgoing, friendly and helpful, and she was great in chemistry."

Click here for Emily Hilscher's Web page.

Jarrett Lee Lane

Jarrett Lane, from Narrows, Va., was a senior civil engineering student who was valedictorian of his high school class in tiny Narrows, Va., just 30 miles from Virginia Tech. His high school put up a memorial to Lane that included pictures, musical instruments and his athletic jerseys.

Lane, 22, played the trombone, ran track, and played football and basketball at Narrows High School. "We're just kind of binding together as a family," Principal Robert Stump said.

Lane's brother-in-law Daniel Farrell called Lane fun-loving and "full of spirit."

"He had a caring heart and was a friend to everyone he met," Farrell said. "We are leaning on God's grace in these trying hours."

In a posting on MSNBC.com, Jessica Green wrote that "the small but very close community of Narrows, VA lost a dear friend and an amazing guy. Jarrett Lane was a very humble and down-to-earth guy and there couldn't have been any sweeter person to have a conversation with. Our small town is feeling the effects of this heinous crime that took place just 20 minutes away."

Matthew Joseph La Porte

La Porte, 20, a sophomore from Dumont, N.J., was majoring in university studies. He had been an Air Force cadet at Virginia Tech, according to his former platoon leader, David Wheeler.

La Porte credited the Carson Long Military Institute in New Bloomfield, Penn., with turning his life around during his years there from 1999 to 2005. "I know that Carson Long was my second chance," he said during a graduation speech, printed in the school yearbook.

"Matthew was an exemplary student at Carson Long whose love of music and fellow cadets were an inspiration to all on campus," Carson Long said in a statement.

La Porte graduated third in his class and was also drum major for the school's drum and bugle corps during his senior year.

Click here for Matthew La Porte's Web page.

Henry J. Lee

Born Henh Ly, the 20-year-old Roanoke, Va., first-year student majoring in computer engineering was ecstatic to earn his U.S. citizenship in 1999. It was then that he changed his name to Henry Lee, The New York Times reported.

He had enough advanced-placement credits to be considered a sophomore at Virginia Tech.

His family emigrated from China by way of Vietnam, and when Lee first arrived in the States as an elementary school student, he couldn't speak English, according to the Times.

During high school, Lee worked at Sears part-time. The same year he became an American citizen, he graduated from William Fleming High School as salutatorian of his class, with a 4.47 grade point average, the Times reported.

As a reward for Lee's academic successes, a local Burger King gave his class vouchers for free Whoppers.

Liviu Librescu

Librescu, 76, a Holocaust survivor and an Israeli lecturer in mathematics and engineering science and mechanics, was born in Romania and was known internationally for his research in aeronautical engineering. He had taught at Virginia Tech for more than 20 years, joining the faculty in 1985.

"His research has enabled better aircraft, superior composite materials and more robust aerospace structures," said Ishwar K. Puri, the head of the engineering science and mechanics department.

Video: Click here to hear more about Liviu Librescu's heroic efforts

Librescu's son, Joe, said his father's students sent e-mails detailing how the professor saved their lives by guarding the doorway of his classroom from the approaching gunman before he was fatally shot.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv, Israel. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

G.V. Loganathan

Loganathan, 51, was born in the southern Indian city of Chennai and had been a civil and environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech since 1982.

Loganathan won several awards for excellence in teaching, had served on the faculty senate and was an adviser to about 75 undergraduate students.

"We all feel like we have had an electric shock. We do not know what to do," his brother G.V. Palanivel told the NDTV news channel from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. "He has been a driving force for all of us, the guiding force."

He is survived by his wife, Usha, and two daughters, Uma — an engineering student at The University of Virginia — and another daughter who is a student at Blacksburg Middle School.

Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan

Lumbantoruan, 34, of Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, was a civil engineering doctoral student, according to ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo. He was also an aspiring teacher, according to The New York Times.

"Mora," as his friends called him, was only two semesters shy of graduating, after which he planned to go home to Indonesia to teach, when he died in Norris Hall, the Times reported.

Lumbantoruan got his master's in civil engineering from Parahyangan University in Java before coming to the U.S. in 2004, according to the Times.

His father said his family had sold cars and property to help him pay the $8,000-a-semester tuition.

"We wanted him to succeed," said his father, retired military officer Tohom Lumbantoruan, "but he met a tragic fate."

Lumbantoruan was studious and clean-cut, his friends told the Times, and could often be tracked down buried in a book in the library. He was one of only 16 Indonesian students at the university.

Those who knew him well described him as smart, funny and a good cook. He was close to the Indonesian student organization on campus.

"We were his family here," Rhondy Rahardja, the president of the Indonesian Students Organization, told the Times.

It was Rahardja who took the Indonesian students to clean up their friend's apartment after his death. While they were doing that, they discovered Lumbantoruan had a secret affinity for war movies.

"He had 30 films, all about war," Rahardja told the Times, "from 'The Thin Red Line' to 'The Alamo.'"

Lumbantoruan's stepmother, who lives in the Central Java town of Semarang, was seen weeping on the privately run ANTV shortly after the tragedy.

Family members said they hoped the body would be returned home soon for a public burial in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Lauren Ashley McCain

On her MySpace page, McCain, of Hampton, Va., listed "the love of my life" as Jesus Christ.

Her family said the 20-year-old freshman international studies major became a Christian some time ago.

"Her life since that time has been filled with His love that continued to overflow to touch everyone who knew her," the family said in a statement.

Her uncle, Jeff Elliott, told The Oklahoman newspaper that she was an avid reader, was learning German and had almost mastered Latin. She was home-schooled, he said, and had worked at a department store for about a year to save money for college.

Click here for Lauren McCain's Web page.

Daniel Patrick O'Neil

O'Neil, 22, a first-year graduate student in environmental engineering from Lincoln, R.I., graduated in 2002 from Lincoln High School and last year received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., before heading to Virginia, according to The Providence Journal.

A Lafayette publication said that while there, O’Neil was vice president of the Arts Society. His high school yearbook noted he was on the cross country and outdoor track teams, the drama club and the National Honor Society, according to the Providence Journal.

A high school friend, Steve Craveiro, said O'Neil played guitar and wrote his own songs. Craveiro described O'Neil as smart, responsible and a hard worker.

He said O'Neil was destined to be extremely successful.

Click here for Daniel O'Neil's Web page.

Juan Ramon Ortiz

Ortiz, 26, who was from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, was teaching a class as part of his graduate program in civil engineering at Virginia Tech.

The family's neighbors in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon remembered Ortiz as a quiet, dedicated son who decorated his parents' one-story concrete house each Christmas and played in a salsa band with his father on weekends.

"He was an extraordinary son, what any father would have wanted," said Ortiz's father, also named Juan Ramon Ortiz.

Marilys Alvarez, 22, heard Ortiz's mother scream from the house next door when she learned of her son's death. Alvarez said she had wanted to study in the United States, but was now reconsidering.

"Here the violence is bad, but you don't see that," she said. "It's really sad. You can't go anywhere now."

Minal Hiralal Panchal

Panchal, 26, of Mumbai, India, wanted to be an architect like her father, who died four years ago. She was a first-year graduate student in architecture.

She was very keen to go to the United States for postgraduate studies and thrilled when she gained admission last year, said Chetna Parekh, a friend who lives in the bustling middle-class Mumbai neighborhood of Borivali, India, where Panchal lived before coming to Virginia Tech. "She was a brilliant student and very hardworking. She was focused on getting her degree and doing well."

Panchal was worried about her mother, Hansa, living alone and wanted her to come to the U.S., neighbor Jayshree Ajmane said. Hansa left earlier this month for New Jersey, where her sister and brother-in-law live.

Ajmane called Panchal a bright, polite girl who would help the neighborhood children with their schoolwork.

Erin Peterson

Peterson, 18, of Chantilly, Va., graduated in 2006 from Westfield High School, three years after gunman Cho Seung-Hui graduated from the same school. It wasn't clear if the two knew each other.

Peterson was a star basketball player at her high school, according to The New York Times.

She was an international studies major, according to her father, Grafton Peterson.

Michael Steven Pohle Jr.

Pohle, 23, of Flemington, N.J., was expected to graduate in a few weeks with a degree in biological sciences, said Craig Blanton, Hunterdon Central's vice principal during the 2002 school year, when Pohle graduated.

"He had a bunch of job interviews and was all set to start his post-college life," Blanton told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

At the high school, Pohle played on the football and lacrosse teams.

One of his old lacrosse coaches, Bob Shroeder, described him as "a good kid who did everything that good kids do."

"He tried to please," Shroeder told the newspaper. "He was just a great kid."

Julia Kathleen Pryde

Pryde, 23, of Middletown, N.J., was a graduate student in biological systems engineering. She traveled to Peru with a professor to work with students there on improving water systems in South America, was fluent in Spanish and enjoyed hiking the Appalachian Trail.

She was hoping to improve water quality in mountainous areas with her studies in watershed management, according to The New York Times.

She had written a proposal urging the Virginia Tech cafeteria to begin recycling waste as compost rather than throwing it into a landfill, the Times reported.

Pryde lost her life in the advanced hydrology class of a professor she considered a role model, G.V. Loganathan, according to the paper.

Mary Karen Read

Friends remembered Read, a 19-year-old freshman from Annandale, Va., for her smile and her caring nature. Read was a fan of marching band and French.

"She was really caring, never had bad intentions for anybody, she put everybody else before herself," friends told FOX News on Tuesday.

Video: Friends Remember Mary Read

Read was born in South Korea into an Air Force family and lived in Texas and California before settling in the northern Virginia suburb of Annandale.

She considered a handful of colleges, including nearby George Mason University, before choosing Virginia Tech. It was a popular destination among her Annandale High School classmates, according to her aunt, Karen Kuppinger.

She had yet to declare a major.

"I think she wanted to try to spread her wings," said Kuppinger, of Rochester, N.Y.

Kuppinger said her niece had struggled adjusting to Tech's sprawling 2,600-acre campus. But she had recently begun making friends and looking into joining a sorority.

Click here for Mary Read's Web page.

Reema Joseph Samaha

Samaha, 18, a freshman from Centreville, Va., was described as fun and energetic, and a dancer.

“She was in theater. She was just real upbeat. Always had a lot of energy. Always a great person to be around. She’d always make you laugh,” said friend Matthew Dockins, 19, a freshman civil engineering major.

He said he and Samaha, a Lebanese American, were among about 50 graduates from Westfield High School who came to Virginia Tech, and she was a popular student.

“Everybody knew who she was,” Dockins said.

Westfield is the same high school that gunman Cho Seung-Hui graduated from, but it wasn't clear whether he and Samaha knew each other.

Click here for Reema Samaha's Web page.

Waleed Mohammed Shaalan

Shaalan, 32, came to Virginia Tech last year from Zagazig, northern Egypt, to be a doctoral student in civil engineering, according to The New York Times. His wife and son were back home in Egypt, another student, Shered Fadek, told the paper.

Shaalan was involved in the university's Muslim Student Association, and took part in many of the organization's activities in the community, the Times reported. He was hard-working and friendly. He was studying in Norris Hall when he was killed.

"He was a nice guy," Fadek told the Times. "He was really focused on studying, but he was also really easy to talk to."

Leslie Geraldine Sherman

Sherman, 20, of Springfield, Va., was a sophomore in history and international studies, according to her grandmother, Gerry Adams. She was also an honor roll student.

She enjoyed history, foreign languages, running and making people laugh, according to The New York Times.

"She was just amazing," sophomore Deepika R. Chadive, 19, told the Times.

Chadive and Sherman were both students at West Springfield High School, where they played basketball together, the Times reported.

"Not only was she very good, she was very spirited," Chadive told the paper. "She was always very enthusiastic. Even if we were down 50 points, she would always give us a pat on the back."

Sherman didn't have "anything bad to say about anyone," Chadive told the Times. "She was always joking around and smiling. She was always trying to make people smile."

Sherman wanted to be a historian one day. She was killed in French class.

Maxine Shelly Turner

Turner, 22, was a senior majoring in chemical engineering from Vienna, Va., according to her father, Paul Turner. She described life as "awesome," The Roanoke Times reported.

Turner was a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an engineering sorority, according to The New York Times.

She also acted as a public relations manager for the university's Tae Kwon Do club, volunteered at an animal shelter and wanted to take up dog breeding as a hobby some day, the newspaper reported.

Click here for Maxine Turner's Web page.

Nicole Regina White

White, 20, of Smithfield, Va., was a strawberry blonde junior majoring in international studies, according to a family statement released by the Suffolk, Va., Police Department.

She loved animals, and enjoyed taking care of them, The New York Times reported.

White was an honor student and a summer lifeguard who grew up in the eastern Virginia town of Smithfield, according to the Times. The two great loves of her life were animals and religion. She hailed from a very religious family.

During high school, she took care of horses as a volunteer at various stables and barns, according to her former Smithfield High School classmate Chance Hellmann, who spoke to The Daily Press of Hampton Roads.

She was killed in the German class on the second floor of Norris Hall where the greatest number of massacre victims were killed.

That high school observed a moment of silence in White's memory Tuesday at the start of Virginia Tech's 2 p.m. convocation ceremony, the Times reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.