Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell extended his sympathies to Connecticut following the horrific elementary school massacre, saying the commonwealth still has “painful memories” from the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.
“It is with a heavy heart and the deepest of sympathies that I learned earlier today of the horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn.,” McDonnell said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day. We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community. If there is anything Virginia can do to assist Governor [Dannel] Malloy and the citizens of Connecticut, we stand ready to do so.”
The Connecticut shooting appears to be the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre. On April 16, 2007, 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and himself on the campus in Blacksburg.
The gunman killed himself at Tech, leaving 33 dead in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Cho first shot and killed two students in a dormitory. More than two hours later he chained the doors at Norris Hall and killed 30 students and faculty members.
The shootings resulted in the development of new higher education laws, policies and practices.
The mother of one Virginia Tech survivor told News4 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey she was overcome with sadness upon hearing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
She and Colin Goddard, who was struck by four bullets during the Virginia Tech massacre, said that day gave them both a new mission in life: A focus on gun control. Goddard has become a high-profile figuresin the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence, lobbying at the state capitol yearly with a focus on closing the gun show lopphole. Friday's tragedy only deepens his resolve.
Other Virginia politicians also commented on the tragedy.
"Words fail to express the profound sadness I feel for the families of those who were lost and those who will carry the scars of this tragedy,” said Sen.-elect Tim Kaine, D-Va. “Our commonwealth knows too well the pain of senseless gun violence. Like all Virginians, Anne and I offer our thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt condolences to the community of Newtown."
“As our country struggles to comprehend what occurred today in Newtown, Conn., my deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those killed in this mindless tragedy,” said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. 8th District. “As a nation, we are again confronted with an act of terrifying mass gun violence. While the coming days should be reserved for grieving, as a legislative body, and as a people, we must consider what can be done to improve our laws to prevent the continuation of this horrific trend.”