Campus shootings shock local grads |

Campus shootings shock local grads

ASPEN Virginia Tech graduates John Curnow and Christine Bechtel were at a loss for words as they watched Monday’s horrific story develop out of Blacksburg, Va.Images of SWAT teams and body bags marred the picture of the safe campus they knew – Curnow graduated in 1987, Bechtel in May. “I’m just in shock,” said Bechtel, who moved to the Roaring Fork Valley last year to take a job with Schmueser Gordon Meyer, an engineering and surveying firm in Glenwood Springs. “It’s a really nice place, in the rural southwest area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has a lot of school pride.”Bechtel went to Virginia Tech because of its engineering program, and had attended classes in Norris Hall, the same building where a gunman opened fire on the second part of his rampage. As of Monday evening, 33 people were confirmed dead, including the gunman, who reportedly committed suicide.Curnow, general manager of the Sky Hotel in Aspen, also took classes at Norris Hall and once lived in the dorm next to West Ambler Johnston, the coed dormitory where the gunman began his rampage.”It’s just tragic,” Curnow said. “It was a great place to go to school. I just don’t know what to say. It’s a tragic day.”Curnow said he has “fond memories” of his time at Virginia Tech.”It’s just surreal to see your former university this way,” he said. “It wasn’t a violent campus. It was just a really gorgeous, serene place to go to school.”Rick Carroll’s e-mail address is at

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