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Virginia Tech Victims Remembered

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And we're going to close again today with words about a few more of the victims at Virginia Tech.

Mr. HUGO QUINTERO (Friend): He was part of me, and I was part of him.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

That's Hugo Quintero speaking about his best friend, Daniel Perez Cueva, a 21-year-old junior studying international relations. They'd been friends since high school in Woodbridge, Virginia. Remember how that begins, you start talking in the lunch line? Well, that's how Hugo and Daniel began.

Mr. QUINTERO: Yeah, he wanted to be somebody. He wanted to represent his family. He wanted to be, you know, like every immigrant, including myself, you know, we want to be the best that we can be, you know, accomplish the American dream, and the next thing you know, while you're trying to accomplish the American dream, you're dead.

CHADWICK: Maxine Turner was 22 years old, a senior studying chemical engineering, about to graduate with a job waiting. She was in an engineering sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon, with her friend, Beth Fairchild(ph), and they both practiced the martial art Tae Kwan Do.

BRAND: Beth writes this about her sorority big sister: Max was, if anything, a great friend. She'd always be there for you through the good times and bad, and was only a call away. She was very peace-loving and friendly, which only accentuates the horrible tragedy that befell her.

CHADWICK: Maxine Turner, like many of the student victims, died in a German-language class that was taught by Christopher James Bishop. He was known as Jamie. Jason Eric Lundaberg(ph) became friends with Jamie after they met several years ago at a science fiction convention in North Carolina.

BRAND: Jason writes in his blog: We would sometimes watch serious films and discuss them thoughtfully afterward or cheesy B-movies that we would yell out and make snarky comments a la "Mystery Science Theater 3000." We would sometimes just hang out and talk about books or movies or comics or art. He was always generous with his time.

CHADWICK: And he was an artist as well as being a professor at Virginia Tech (unintelligible) without him in it. Erin Peterson was just a freshman at Virginia Tech, not set to graduate until 2010. She excelled in high school at academics and sports. Her basketball coach, Pat Deegan, says she was just a special individual.

Mr. PAT DEEGAN (Basketball Coach): She was an excellent athlete, outstanding basketball player, but most importantly, she was one of - and I've been teaching and coaching for 27 years - she was as fine, if not the finest, young lady I ever had the pleasure to, you know, to work with, because she made it her business to make everyone around her a better person. We had the basketball team and some other kids in a meeting room, and this was suggested (unintelligible) and I followed through on it to ask the kids to write down a little anecdote about Erin that made her special, made Erin special to them.

And I think there were probably 16 kids in the room, and as we went around at least 14 of them told the story of how at one point they'd just come to school and didn't know anyone, and Erin came over and introduced herself. They were afraid because they were going to start their first varsity basketball game and Erin reassured them that everything was going to be all right over and over and over again. The stories were about her reaching out. The stories were about her laughing. The stories were about her being concerned for the others around her.

CHADWICK: Basketball coach Pat Deegan remembering Erin Peterson, one of the 32 people killed by the Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alex Chadwick
For more than 30 years, Alex Chadwick has been bringing the world to NPR listeners as an NPR News producer, program host and currently senior correspondent. He's reported from every continent except Antarctica.
Madeleine Brand
Madeleine Brand is the host of NPR’s newest and fastest-growing daily show, Day to Day. She conducts interviews with newsmakers (Iraqi politicians, US senators), entertainment figures (Bernardo Bertolluci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Gervais), and the everyday people affected by the news (an autoworker laid off at GM, a mother whose son was killed in Iraq).
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