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Virginia Tech victims and families push for change on anniversary

By Preston Ayres, payres@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 16 2013 04:55:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2013 08:00:00 PM CDT

Tuesday marks six years since Virginia Tech changed forever.

BLACKSBURG, Va. -

Six years ago, nearly all of the students and staff at Virginia Tech started their day as normal, while one student was planning the details of a horrible shooting. 

Today marks six years since Virginia Tech changed forever.  

A day after bombings in Boston, the nation marks the sixth anniversary of the worst mass shooting on US soil. 

On April 16, 2007, 32 people and a gunman died on the Virginia Tech campus. 

At 9:38, the exact moment the massacre began six years ago, a moment of silence to remember the victims was held on April 16, 2013. "As I read the names of those killed at Virginia Tech,” said Peter Read, whose daughter was killed at Virginia Tech, "know that we read these names in solidarity with all the victims of gun violence and all the victims of violence in our nation." 

Investigators say Seung Hui Cho killed his first two victims in a dorm room. He then moved on to Norris Hall, where 30 more people were killed. 

In light of the more recent tragedies, this anniversary brings a renewed call to action from victims and their families. "So let Congress hear the names of those killed six years ago.” says Colin Goddard, who was shot during the massacre. “Let every member of congress hear the names of all the Americans who have been killed." 

The group called on lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws to prevent mass shootings similar to Virginia Tech, Aurora, and Newtown.    

"To see such violence continuing in this country and no action being taken on the federal level is frankly irresponsible and unacceptable," says Goddard. 

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are using this anniversary to push for expanded background checks. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey went as far as saying the Virginia Tech massacre might have been prevented under a system like the one proposed. "They knew that this was a very unstable and a very dangerous man.” said Toomey, “The state of Virginia never passed that information on, and so there was no information about this man in the national background check system." 

Even as time passes, one question remains that no one seems to have the answer to -- why? 

About 70 people gathered in Richmond for a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. 

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling also addressed the crowd at the state capitol, and a bell tolled once for each of the Virginia Tech victims.