Ceremony Marks Tech Shooting Anniversary

By: Brendan Ponton/AP Email
By: Brendan Ponton/AP Email
About 70 people gathered in Richmond for a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

New York Yankees and the Virginia Tech Hokies line up along the baselines during opening ceremonies at English Field on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Thirty-two balloons were released in memory of the victims from the April shootings. The Yankees and Virginia Tech played an exhibition baseball game. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WHSV) -- About 70 people gathered in Richmond for a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

Joe Samaha's daughter Reema was one of the 32 people killed. He said Tuesday that the long-term solutions to campus violence include better mental health treatment and helping troubled kids. Samaha is president of the Virginia Tech Family Outreach Foundation, which was formed after the 2007 shooting rampage to promote campus safety.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling also addressed the crowd at the state Capitol, and a bell tolled once for each of the Virginia Tech victims.

After the ceremony, state Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker declined to say whether Monday's Boston Marathon bombings prompted any security changes at Virginia Tech for its community picnic and other shooting anniversary activities.

In Washington, D.C., victims and mourners gathered to read aloud the names of the lives lost. Colin Goddard was in attendance. He was shot four times that day. Today, he is a gun control advocate living in Washington. With the recent gun control debate, he thinks this anniversary is different.

"It's kind of new waters for a lot of people who have been involved in this movement. We understand there's a long way to go, but the progress we've made so far has been further than we've been in many, many years. It's encouraging, but we understand the bigger picture here," he said.

He also acknowledged the bill has a long way to go before becoming law. It faces strong opposition from some Senators.

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