COMMENTS: Eyewitness News

NBC and CBS both sent their anchors to the college town of Blacksburg Va at the foot of the Blue Ridge. CBS' Katie Couric (no link) interviewed an eyewitness to the gunman, Derek O'Dell, who survived with a bullet in his arm: "He did not say anything, which I found very unusual. He just started shooting people…I had not realized that I had been shot until I got up and saw the blood on my arm." NBC's Brian Williams interviewed sophomore O'Dell and his classmate Trey Perkins: "A man ran in. He just shot our professor." "I saw him actually reload a clip while he was in our room. He had unloaded probably eight or ten shots into people in our class," O'Dell added. "He looked to be trained in how fast he reloaded the gun." ABC, whose anchor Charles Gibson remained in New York, intercut the account of Perkins with two other students, Josh Wargo and Alec Calhoun, into a three-person 1st Person compilation. "Everybody started jumping out of a window. It was about three stories," Wargo recounted. "There must have been 15 or 20 of us lined up to jump out," Calhoun continued. When one jumper broke his leg and another hurt her back, Calhoun "jumped into a bush…The two people behind me ended up getting shot."

A choked-up Gibson (subscription required) saw the incident through a father's eyes, rehashing the anxiety that parents must be feeling. He concluded with a photo essay of stills from the campus, calling it a sanctuary: "We parents send our sons and daughters there to be safe. But by definition, so are campuses open--open to new thoughts, open to the students, open to outsiders."


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