The sprawling Virginia Tech campus was nearly deserted Monday evening as students mourned the largest shooting massacre in modern U.S. history.
A small group of students stood in a circle in front of a closed Squires Student Center and talked about the tragedy, hunching against a bitter wind that showed no mercy.
"We're trying to figure things out for ourselves," said one female student, indicating that the group was not ready to talk to a reporter.
But a man walking past the student center around 5 p.m. was eager to talk about his frustration and the concern that he and his four adult children felt throughout the day while waiting for word on whether his wife, who works in one of the Virginia Tech dormitories, was OK.
He said he drove his truck to the campus to pick up his wife, Mary, but ran headlong into a police blockade.
"The cops would not let me pick her up," said the man, who gave his name only as Michael. "They made me walk across campus to get her."
Mary, who had spent most of the day locked down in the dorm after the rampage, said nothing as she climbed into the passenger side of the truck after trudging with her husband back across the campus.
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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.