CHAZY — Emily and Wendell Castine waited anxiously beside their TV and phone Monday to hear from their son — a teacher at Virginia Tech — after they heard about the deadly massacre."I called his department, and he said he was in lockdown (and couldn't talk)," a relieved Mrs. Castine said Tuesday morning. "They didn't know what was happening. They didn't hear the shooting or anything, and they didn't know if there was a second gunman or anything."We hovered around the phone and TV until we heard back from him. I just wanted to know that he was all right."Finally, after what seemed liked countless hours, the highly anticipated call came through.Timothy Creighton Castine was in the wood shop about 100 yards away from Norris Hall when 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui began his shooting rampage there, killing 33 people, including himself."We didn't really know what was going on until they let us go," said Timothy, who was in the underground shop below about three feet of concrete when the Norris Hall shooting spree began.
The 1980 graduate of Chazy Central School was able to phone his parents around noon Monday, shortly after the lockdown was lifted at the still-chaotic campus."We really didn't know what was happening," he told the Press-Republican on Tuesday."The administration said to keep the students inside and away from the windows. We didn't hear the shooting. Some of the students had seen the SWAT team swarm (Norris Hall)."Castine became an adjunct professor at the university after earning his master's degree in 2000 and had recently taken on the technician position with the Architecture Department on campus."I really didn't know the severity of what had happened until I got home and turned on the TV. It was quite a shock. Quite a shock."
Mrs. Castine kept busy Tuesday answering calls from concerned friends and relatives wanting to make sure Timothy was safe."We're so thankful and grateful that he was OK," she said. "I think I'm still kind of in shock and awe over it all. It's just starting to really sink in, the magnitude of it all. It's just so much to take in."It's a really beautiful place and campus," she added. "You would never think that something like this could happen there. But I guess, this could really happen anywhere."It will take a long while to heal from this," Mrs. Castine said Tuesday as she waited to hear again from her son. "I'm just really sorry for all those who are suffering (from the shooting)."I feel terrible for all the people who were killed. I still can't believe it."I feel for all the parents who lost a child and for all the students who saw it happening and lost their friends and classmates."
Classes will remain canceled through the week, but thousands of students, faculty, parents and community members returned to campus Tuesday to attend a memorial service to mourn the shooting victims.One of those people was professor Isis Mullarky, who was involved in three years of research work at Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake before accepting a position in the Dairy Science Department at Virginia Tech."I think we're all still in shock. It's a very close community," she said."We tried to go to the convocation, but the coliseum was overflowing with people," said Mullarky.She and others later watched the emotional service from their building, near the dorms.She had been teaching in an agricultural lab during the shootings and had remained there with her students when the campus was locked down Monday."Everyone's just trying to handle it as best as they can," she said.