CENTREVILLE, Va. – Cho Seung-Hui kept to himself in high school. He was a loner, students say, who rarely spoke to anyone.
Residents of Centreville, Va., Cho's hometown about 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., say they are shocked that the gunman, who carried out the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history that left 33 people dead, came from here.
"It was surprising," Lauren Martin, 21, who had classes with Cho at Westfield High School, told FOXNews.com. Cho graduated in 2003.
"He didn't say much at all," Martin said, who was wearing a Virginia Tech T-shirt. "He never said anything."
The gunman who terrorized Virginia Tech on Monday took two alumni from Westfield High School when he killed Reema Samaha and Erin Peterson.
Principal Tim Thomas spoke to students Tuesday morning after the loss of three graduates, including Cho, who took his own life after the rampage. There are more than 3,000 students in grades 9 through 12 at Westfield.
Daniel Winchester, a 2005 graduate from Westfield, knew Peterson through his family.
"I can't believe that happened," Winchester said.
Winchester said he made an effort in high school to be nice to his fellow classmates to protect himself.
"I watched out for myself," he said, adding that he felt safe at school.
Cho's description as a quiet, independent person fits the type of a kid who might take his frustrations out on others, Winchester said.
"It's always one of the quiet ones," he added.
But Martin said she didn't expect such extremes of violence from him.
"I never really thought he fit that description," Martin said.
Like students at Westfield, the community is also in shock. Jean Stroman of Chantilly, Va., said she now fears for her children's safety at school.
"I feel worried to send my kids to school," Stroman said. "You never know who is going to be in the schools."
Stroman has a sophomore daughter and senior son at Chantilly High School.
"We need more security in the schools," she said. "It's happened a lot lately in the past few years and I think kids feel more stressed to be accepted."