VA pauses to remember Tech victims at 9:43

Posted at 1:42 PM, Apr 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-16 18:18:55-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - 32 bells rang out at the state capitol today at 9:43 a.m. on the dot, marking the moment exactly five years ago when Seung-Hui Cho opened fire inside Norris Hall at Virginia Tech.

It was a violent rampage that claimed the live of 32 students and staff, and would become the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The moment of silence, ordered by governor Bob McDonnell, is just one of many events marking the somber anniversary today.

Early this morning on the Blacksburg campus a memorial candle was lit at midnight. It will remain lit for the entirety of the day, being extinguished at 11:59 p.m. tonight, as the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets stand vigil for the final 32 minutes that it burns.

"We found out five years ago that in the lowest of low moments community is what supported us and helped us through the most difficult hours," said Mark Owczarski, a school spokesman. "It's a part of us, and it will always be a part of us. we will never forget that day. Through the passage of times and through observances like today we remember and we come together to help one another."

Both the state and school flags are flying at half staff on campus today. Governor McDonnell will attend a commemoration and candlelight vigil tonight at 7:30 p.m.