Columbians across campus expressed shock and outrage over the violent rampage on Virginia Tech's campus that left at least 32 students dead yesterday, the deadliest shooting attack in the country's history.
Students took a break from their daily routines to watch gruesome coverage, mourn, and show support as details were released.
"It's something that really has touched every single student at this campus," said Dan Okin, SEAS '07 and Engineering Student Council president.
The shooter, described as an young man of Asian descent, opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm at around 7:15 in the morning, killing one student and a resident adviser. Two and a half hours later, the man entered an academic building and moved ruthlessly from classroom to classroom, firing at students and faculty with two handguns, the Washington Post reported.
"I'm really at a loss for words to explain or to understand the carnage that has visited our campus," Charles W. Steger, president of Virginia Tech, told the Post.
Several Columbia students and all four of the undergraduate councils scrambled to pull together prayer services and candlelight vigils to express their grief and show their sympathy.
"It's a tragedy and I feel like any show of my support is important," said Justin Leung, CC '09. Leung and several other students will attend a prayer service in Lerner Hall today at 7 a.m. The impromptu service, which was advertised via Facebook invitation, aims to bring together students "whatever your religion, faith, belief, or background ... [to] show our support together to those who really need it right now."
The undergraduate student councils are working together to organizing a candlelight vigil for Wednesday night after sundown. Seth Flaxman, CC '07 and Columbia College Student Council president, said that the councils wanted to put together an event that would enable the University to come together.
"I've had so many conversations with students who are upset by this," Flaxman said. "I feel like this is the least we can do."