Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Talks About Life After Shooting - abc27 WHTM

Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Talks About Life After Shooting


Lynchburg, VA - Roanoke native Derek O'Dell went back to study at Virginia Tech not once but twice after the tragic 2007 shooting.

After finishing his undergrad there he went on to Veterinary school at Virginia Tech and graduated last year. He now works at Peaks View Animal Hospital in Lynchburg,

"I achieved my life goal and profession goal of becoming a veterinarian. I love every minute of it I couldn't imagine changing professions" said Derek O'Dell.

However, not a day goes by he doesn't think about April 16th 2007. Many hailed O'Dell as a hero after he and another student held their classroom door shut while the shooter tried to enter a second time.

O'Dell says the smell of gun powder still brings back the emotional memories of that day.

"The hardest thing for me was just regaining my focus inside of a classroom. you feel such a sense of security when you are inside a classroom and that was shattered on April 16th" explained O'Dell.

He says with the support of his family and friends he was able to get through the traumatic experience over the years.

"It's so hard to have a bad day, when you know there are so many other people who lost their lives that day" said O'Dell.

O'Dell says he couldn't make it to this year's Remembrance Day events, but he wore a tie with tech colors to show his Hokie pride.

"I'm there in spirit and also memorializing a lot of the victims and their families keeping them in my thoughts and prayers today" said O'Dell.

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