Three Va. Tech Friends Mourn Together

When news spread about the horrible massacre on Virginia Tech's campus on Monday, everyone hoped that no one they knew was among the victims.

Unfortunately, after hours of searching, friends of 27-year-old Jeremy Herbstritt, a graduate student, learned that he was among the slain students.

Ken Stanton, who lived in the same building as Jeremy, started the search. He said Jeremy's girlfriend contacted him and asked if he heard from Jeremy.

"Of course, living downstairs from him, I started looking," he told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "She said he had a class in Norris. I was like, 'Oh, it's a big building. It's probably no big deal.' I called a friend and asked what we knew about where everything started. He said a friend of his was in room 204 and the gunshots started in 206. I turned around and I called his girlfriend back and said, 'What room was he in?' And she said, 'Oh, 206.' And immediately, we just both — you know, lost it from that point."

Jenni Popp, who was also friends with Jeremy, said that it is still difficult for her to believe that he is gone.

Another friend, former Virginia Tech student Bill Grefe, said they spent time with Jeremy's parents when they came to Blacksburg.

"Towards the end of the night we got them to laugh and smile and showed how (much) all of his friends cared about him and his family," he said.

Losing Jeremy is devastating, Stanton said. Like many of the others who were killed he was a much-loved young man.

Photos: Virginia Tech Mourns
"When he first moved here, we met him and instantly befriended him," Stanton said. "He loves to talk. He's a very talkative guy. You know, you can just hold a conversation with him any time of day. It put it into perspective really well yesterday at the convocation. I was walking around and three girls we had met one time for about maybe two hours came running gunning and were just torn apart. And I thought to myself, 'How can someone who knew him for so little time be so captivated?' It just really put it into perspective for me how much impact he had on people."

The convocation and the vigil were very therapeutic for the members of the Virginia Tech community, Popp said.

"It's been great to have the support of the whole community," she said. "And to be able to see all my friends and know they're safe and just comfort them and share grief together. It's been great."

At the end of the convocation, people spontaneously broke into the Virginia Tech Hokie cheer and all around the campus, students are wearing their maroon and orange colors.

Stanton said the community has been rallying around the victims and those who lost friends and loved ones.

Click here for an interactive gallery of the victims.

"I'll tell you what the hardest thing has been to think, out of these students, one of our friends was one of the 32," he said. "With 30-40,000 people coming together and showing their support, you don't feel alone. And that was my first feeling, was, 'Oh, wow, I feel so isolated.' But the family here is excellent. I love it here."
  • Caitlin Johnson

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