"Something takes over your body to survive...."
Derek O'Dell, VA Tech student and hero
Derek O'Dell is a Virginia Tech student who was interviewed this morning by Shepherd Smith of Fox News. Shot in the arm during yesterday's shooting rampage, he relayed the story of what happened in his classroom....
The gunman entered the classroom of about 17 students and shot the professor first, then turned the gun on students sitting on the front row. Derek said 5-10 students were critically injured and he believes some of those on the front row are among the dead. Derek was shot in the arm and dove under his desk to find protection ... and as students fell to the floor after being shot the gunman continued to shoot them.
The male Asian six-foot-tall gunman reloaded his handgun and continued shooting in a calm, determined, methodical way. Wearing a leather jacket, his ammo supply was in his pockets as he pulled out a clip to reload and continue his horrific act, finally stepping into the hallway to reload yet again...
And that's when Derek and others jumped up and barricaded the door. They pushed everything they could find against the door, then put themselves against it ("shoes and hands and feet," he said) to prevent the gunman from reentering even as he shot at the door.
Repeated over and over by Derek and other student was the memory of the sound of gunshots echoing throughout the school, the hallways, outdoors....
Derek said he most remembers the face of the gunman, calm during his heinous act, and the blood-covered faces of his fellow students. A sense of survival automatically takes over in such a situation, he said ... an instinct even while experiencing a sense of disbelief at the scene that seems like something out of the news or a movie. He said the need for survival takes over your body ... these are all split-second decisions made by a young man mature beyond his years and now, sadly, he has become a part of history in what is now known as the deadliest shooting rampage ever in the U.S.
Derek, from Roanoke, said his parents were on their way to campus today. He is in a state of shock as the reality of the event hasn't completely settled over him. He placed no blame on school administrators, saying it was almost impossible to prevent a tragedy like that.
Our prayers are with Derek and his family, and the families of the victims who will be identified as the day unfolds.
Virginia Tech ... pray for them.