Tales Of Heroism, Death And Survival

virginia tech victims collage shooting generic CBS/AP

In the midst of all the death that rained down on Virginia Tech this week, there were some who, even though they were shot, turned out to be the lucky ones.

"She's 19 years old. It's a very scary time. We were scared for her but she persevered," says Patrick Strollo, talking about his sister Hilary, a freshman at Virginia Tech.

"She said it was terrifying. Blood everywhere and lots of bullets and she was trying to pretend she was dead," Strollo explains, who is a senior at the university. "She got up against the wall in a fetal position."

Hilary was shot three times by gunman Cho Seung-Hui. "She was shot in the left side of the stomach. She has a 9 mm bullet in her buttocks and another bullet grazed her head," Strollo tells Cynthia Bowers. "Blood was running down her face, so she thinks he thought she was dead and he didn't come back again."

Click here for an interactive gallery of the victims.

The gunman did come back for many others and may have killed even more if one brave 76-year-old had not gotten in his way. "I really felt a sense of pride even thought I wasn't surprised at how he acted at this moment," says Joe Librescu, the son of Liviu Librescu, an engineering professor, Holocaust survivor, and grandfather.

"His was definitely a fulfilled life," says Joe Librescu, who spoke to CBS News from Israel.

He said his grief is off-set by accounts of how his father blocked the gunman's access to his classroom, while his students escaped by jumping from second story windows. "He stopped the door from getting open and the last students to jump off looked behind and saw him getting shot," Librescu says.

The gunman killed the professor.

His bullets also were fatal for sophomore Matt La Porte from New Jersey. La Porte, a military school graduate, was tough enough to be drum corps commander yet played the cello beautifully.

"It's close to home. You say, 'Oh my God, that happens over there. This happens in Columbine.' And that happens. But to know that right next door your neighbor's son was murdered," one of La Porte's neighbors told CBS News.

Relatives describe 19-year-old Mary Read as someone who seemed to burst with life. "We called her our little princess," remembers Mary Courtney, Read's aunt.

Hilary Strollo's parents Diane and Patrick say their freshman daughter, who was shot three times, will make a full recovery.

And Caitlin Carney's mom Susan says her daughter plans to attend her sister's wedding tomorrow, despite her injured hand.

"All the guests are gonna wear a white glove on their left hand, so she won't look out of place," Susan says.

And it's that spirit that people say will live on – in memory of all that was lost.


  • Daniel Schorn

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