A powerful pull

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 09:23 pm ET

Bud Kick drove five hours from Gaithersburg, Md., on Wednesday to be with his daughter, Danielle, a 20-year-old sophomore at Virginia Tech. Asked why he waited until two days after Monday’s horrific bloodbath to make the trip, he replied, “She asked me to come.”

The powerful desire to be close to family members in this time of tragedy has brought many parents to the Virginia Tech campus, in some cases simply to pick up devastated students and take them home.

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The shortest news conference

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 05:44 pm ET


April 18: Col. Steve Flaherty, of Virginia State Police, and Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker talk about photographs, videos and writings sent to NBC by the gunman.

It was the shortest news conference on record, and it ended with reporters yelling after the Virginia Tech spokesman as he fled the room.

It began somberly, with spokesman Larry Hincker reading a list of victims who have been newly identified.

Then came the surprise: Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of Virginia State Police, announced that NBC in New York had received a package sent by Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman who killed 32 students and teachers on Monday before taking his own life. Inside were photos, video and writings by the killer, he said.

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Gathering to grieve, pray

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 03:36 pm ET


Andrew Undercoffer, a freshman, reads inscriptions on one of the many boards set up in the Drillfield on the Virginia Tech campus.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Drillfield -- a large open lawn area in the center of the Virginia Tech campus -- has become a place for public grieving and prayer.

A low, curved stone wall in the field is now adorned with flowers and candles resting in front of it. A new stone formation also has appeared facing it: a semi-circle of 32 stones – one for each of the gunman Cho Seung-Hui’s victims. Each stone has a flower stem or two resting on top along with a small Virginia Tech flag.

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Lauer: 'This community welcomed us'

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 12:01 pm ET


April 18: Virginia Tech professor Lucinda Roy tells TODAY's Matt Lauer about her warnings about the mental health of Cho Seung-Hui.

After taping the “Today” show on the Virginia Tech campus on Wednesday, co-host Matt Lauer shared his thoughts on covering the tragedy with MSNBC.com’s Petra Cahill.

Q: You’ve covered so many of these tragedies. What stands out with this one?

A: All of us in this business have unfortunately had to go to communities that have been ripped apart by some sort of violent tragedy, and it’s amazing to see the different responses that people have. Often you’ll find – and it’s completely understandable – that they want nothing to do with the media. They want you to get out, they want you to stay away and give them their time to grieve and come to terms with it.

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Emotions spill over

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 11:13 am ET

Emotions are spilling over at Virginia Tech.

Walking around the campus, examples are everywhere: Many students still seem to be in shocked disbelief, tears streaming down their faces.

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Facebook.com helps students process grief

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 11:00 am ET

Students at Virginia Tech are turning to a familiar tool to help themselves process their grief and bewilderment following Monday’s massacre: the popular college social networking site Facebook.com.

A review by MSNBC.com reveals that thousands of pages focusing on the tragedy have been created in the 48 hours since gunman Cho Seung-Hui’s rampage.

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A forlorn formality

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 08:37 am ET

In a forlorn formality that will be repeated often in the coming days, the medical examiner in Roanoke has released the bodies of two victims of the Virginia Tech shooting to their families.

Robert Parker, a spokesman with the Virginia Department of Health, tells NBC News that the first bodies were released Tuesday. He did not identify the victims.

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As officials, students and families struggle to come to terms with the tragedy at Virginia Tech, a team of MSNBC.com reporters and editors and NBC News producers and correspondents is on the scene.