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U of U Graduate Caught in Virginia Tech Lockdown

U of U Graduate Caught in Virginia Tech Lockdown

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Amanda Butterfield Reporting A University of Utah graduate was part of the chaos at Virginia Tech Monday morning.

Tracy Carter is a student at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medical School, practically on the campus of Virginia Tech. After being on lock-down for four hours, he got away by making a run for it.

Carter can hardly believe what he's been through. "You can't put your mind on what's going on," he said.

A second-year medical student, he was taking an exam when an announcement was made about a shooting.

"We're going to be locking the building," he heard. "No one is going to come in or out of the building."

"We saw ambulances and cop cars drive by," he said.

Carter waited for hours.

"At that point getting agitated, sitting here in this building. I'm thinking, this guy could come in here and shoot us. Who knows?" he said.

By then, Carter and another student couldn't wait anymore.

"We hurried and made a break, ran to our cars and got out of there," he said. He made it home and says he can't believe this happened in a place he loves.

"We don't lock our doors or worry about leaving belongings in our cars. There's a lot of elderly people, a lot of farming people," he said.

Being a Utah native, Carter says he can't help but think about the recent deadly shootings in Salt Lake just weeks ago.

"With the Trolley Square shooting not too long ago, [this is] reminiscent of that," Carter said.

Richard Hatch, a counselor at Valley Mental Health, said it's not unusual for Virginia's shootings to trigger memories about Trolley Square.

"I think it's a pretty common response," Hatch said.

He has a suggestion for anyone who's starting to feel anxious or overwhelmed. "I think it's important to not spend lots of time in becoming over-exposed to what's happened in Virginia."

Instead, he says, realize what happened at Trolley Square and Virginia Tech are isolated events. He recommends people maintain their routine. That's what Carter's doing. He's planning to attend classes when they resume in the same building he was locked-down in Monday.

A side note: Carter's wife Cari, also from Utah, is a licensed therapist, and has volunteered to counsel students and staff at Virginia Tech.

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