Maybe even in it.
Four Irish students are currently at Virginia Tech on an exchange program. Three of them are engineering undergraduates from University College Dublin while the fourth is a graduate in civil engineering.
One of them was identified in Irish media reports as Nicola Greene, from Ballinacoola near Gorey in County Wexford.
Greene was in a building close to where the first gun attack took place at 7.15 a.m. in West Ambler Johnston Hall. Two people died in that shooting.
Greene said that she had she received an email to stay indoors just as she was getting ready to leave for class.
While the bloodiest carnage unfolded at Norris Hall, one of a number of science and engineering buildings on the spacious campus, Green emailed the BBC’s Web site.
I’m from University College Dublin and now on exchange in Virginia Tech,” she wrote.
“A murderer on campus on our first day here is as bad as it could get; this is unbelievable. Find it hard to believe that 20 people can really be dead. Sitting in dorms right now, waiting for further news. People starting to be released, seems worst may be over.”
It was not. The email was written before Greene became aware of the final, mind-numbing death toll.
In addition to Greene, another Irish student was named by the Evening Herald in Dublin as Esther Ryan from Annacurra, Co. Wicklow. She was reportedly in a building close to Norris Hall where the bulk of the fatalities occurred.
Professor Nicholas Kiersey from Blessington, also in Wicklow, was named as a lecturer in politics at the university. He, too, was unhurt.
The shootings prompted statement of sorrow and condolence from Irish President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Foreign minister Dermot Ahern.
Minister Ahern said that officials from the Irish Embassy in Washington would be providing whatever assistance was needed by Irish students caught up in the Virginia Tech tragedy.
“We have been in contact directly with the Irish students today offering whatever assistance is required and also have been talking to the UCD authorities in Dublin.
“Any Irish at the campus appear to have escaped the tragedy unharmed but this is a difficult time for them and, in particular, their families back home. Whatever help we can provide we will. Our embassy will continue to monitor the situation and we are keeping in close contact with the U.S. authorities. We have no reports of any Irish wounded in the attack.
“I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to all concerned,” Ahern said.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also extended his condolences.
“We all share the sense of grief and sadness following the loss of so many innocent lives,” Ahern said.
Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S., Noel Fahey, sent a message of sympathy on behalf of the Irish government and people to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.
And President McAleese conveyed her deepest sympathies to the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Tom Foley.