WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Until the Pulse Nightclub shooting last year, the nation's deadliest mass shooting was the Virginia Tech Massacre.
The shooter was a Virginia Tech student from Fairfax County. Seung-Hui Cho opened fire in a dorm and two hours later in a classroom building. He killed 32 people and then himself.
"This tragedy is just of such horrific proportions, the ripple effects are going to be broad. Many, many hundreds of communities are going to be affected by this one," said Lori Haas. Her daughter was a student at Virginia Tech 10 years ago.
On April 16, 2007, Emily Haas was in French class in Norris Hall when Cho went from room to room shooting people. Emily was hit.
"An EMT handed Emily her cell phone and said call you mother, this is bad. She needs to hear from you. So I got a call from Emily pretty early on," recalled Haas. The fact she didn't have to agonize for hours, she calls a blessing.
They were lucky. Emily survived.
"Emily is a very, very strong person. To live through what she lived through. And to go back to the scene of attempted murder, day in and day out, for two and a half years to get her degree, I think, is amazing," said
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But the Las Vegas shooting opens up those raw emotions once again for many survivors and their family members.
"The fear, the anxiety and the grief, it's just overwhelming. My heart goes out to those families," she said.
Haas, like other parents and survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre, has become an advocate for gun control. She is the Virginia state director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
"You can speculate on every situation, what the gunman did, what he didn't do, how he got it, but we don't know enough facts in this situation," Haas said. "All I know is we have an epidemic of gun violence in America that is not being addressed. It is being ignored by the very persons who have the ability to do something about it, and they're in the pocket of the gun lobby. And I find that disgusting."
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