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Ceremonies pay tribute to Va. Tech massacre victims

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RICHMOND, Va. - On the seventh anniversary of the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, people across Virginia paid tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, reports CBS affiliate WTVR.

On April 16, 2007, 32 people were killed by 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech senior, who opened fire on the school's Blacksburg campus, in Montgomery County. Cho, who was born in South Korea in 1984 and became a permanent U.S. resident in 1992, was majoring in English, according to WTVR.

He took his own life in the shooting.

At a memorial at Virginia's state capital early Wednesday morning, the Capital Bell Tower chimed 32 times in honor of the 32 shooting victims, the station reports. Anne Holton, Virginia's first lady in 2007, spoke of the resilience of the university.

"Virginia Tech will always be a powerful community," Holton said. "But it's a community that was changed by that day, and new powers unleashed."

The U.S. Department of Education said Wednesday that Virginia Tech has paid two fines totaling $32,500 for violations of the Clery Act, which requires universities to issue timely warnings of campus threats. WTVR reports that the state has made sweeping changes to gun laws, including closing the loophole that allowed the shooter - who was diagnosed as mentally unstable - to buy handguns. The university also made changes to campus safety policies.

Greg Gwaltney, whose son Matthew was just weeks away from graduating with a master's in engineering when he was killed, used the day to reflect on his loss.

"Most of [Matthew's] friends are getting married, building homes, and having kids," Gwaltney told the station. "I think we need to all be vigilant on a daily basis - and never forget."

  • Crimesider Staff

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