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Virginia Tech students spend first day in dorms

August 22, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

BLACKSBURG, VA. - Devon Steiner and Lauren O'Boyle spent their first day of classes at Virginia Tech shut in their dorm room, watching the news.

Virginia Tech officials shut down the campus Monday as police searched for escaped inmate William Charles Morva, 24, who police were afraid would blend in with students.

Steiner and O'Boyle, freshman roommates from Hagers-town, said they went to class at 10:10 a.m.

Lauren, 17, said she was sitting in an English class when the department head explained that the campus was shut down and dismissed the students.

"I went across campus at a fast pace. I was freaking out," she said. "Everyone was in a panic."

Morva escaped from a hospital about two miles from campus, where he had been taken early Sunday for treatment of a sprained wrist and ankle.

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According to police, Morva overpowered a sheriff's deputy at the hospital, took the deputy's gun and shot an unarmed hospital security guard. The deputy had a concussion and suffered severe head injuries in the attack.

Morva also is suspected of shooting sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin as the decorated police veteran got closer to the fugitive on the trail about 7 a.m. Monday.

Police captured Morva at about 3:30 p.m. Monday. He was hiding in a briar patch along a trail near the campus.

Steiner, 18, said that everyone was told to stay in the dorms. She and Lauren left the building to go across the street for food.

Sue O'Boyle said she took her daughter to the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg last week.

Lauren called her mother Monday morning right after the class was dismissed.

"I was worried, but she said hundreds of kids were walking back together," Sue O'Boyle said.

Sue O'Boyle said that she monitored CNN on her computer at work all day.

"Security is pretty good down there," she said. "You have to have an ID to get in the door."

Lisa Gaver, of New Market, Md., also got a call from her daughter Monday morning.

"She called this morning, on her way home from not getting to her first classes," Gaver said.

Laura Gaver, a 19-year-old sophomore, lives off campus.

"I was let out of my second class. Some other kids said there was a situation, but don't panic," she said.

Gaver said she and her roommate sat in the parking lot for about an hour before getting back home.

"Everyone stayed inside and talked to each other online," she said.

Gaver's roommate, Laura Bowen, 19, said she was stopped at a roadblock on her way to class.

"I didn't know what was going on," she said.

Bowen said she saw another girl crying and talking about a crazy guy that was on the loose.

"There are a lot of areas down here where he could have been hiding," she said.

Gaver said she and Bowen knew when it was safe because they were watching the news and saw police take Morva into custody.

According to the Virginia Tech Web site, the university will resume normal operations today.

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