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Police Probed Complaints Against Cho Seung-Hui; Iraq War Funding; Franklin Graham Provides Spiritual Healing for Virginia Tech; Pastor's Wife on Trial for Murder Testifies Husband Was Abusive; Quick Thinking Virginia Tech Student Saves Own Life

Aired April 18, 2007 - 13:59   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

He survived the Holocaust, only to give his life to save his students. We'll take you to Brooklyn for the funeral of Professor Liviu Librescu.

LEMON: We're also going to talk about binding spiritual wounds. Billy Graham's son Franklin arrives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with a team of Christian counselors. And we'll talk to him about his mission to heal.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is the top of the hour, and we start with the latest on the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre.

WHITFIELD: Police disclosed today they investigated Cho Seung- Hui for campus stalking incidents back in 2005. He was temporarily hospitalized for mental illness later on that year.

LEMON: And Fredricka, Cho bought a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistols, one of two guns used in the rampage, from an out-of-state dealer, but he had to pick it up from a Virginia pawnbroker per state law.

WHITFIELD: And a funeral taking place right now in New York City for Professor Liviu Librescu. The Holocaust survivor died trying to protect his students at Virginia Tech from the gunman.

Also, we're learning the names of additional victims from that dead.

LEMON: And that gunman left a horrific legacy. Now we're learning more about his disturbing past and the weapons police say he used to commit the worst shooting massacre in modern U.S. history.

Let's go straight to the Virginia Tech campus and CNN's Brianna Keilar -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, we learned today that Cho was committed to a mental health facility December 17, 2005. This was last school year, and this happened after two incidents where Cho contacted female students.

He was talking to them in person, through text messaging, on the phone, and these were, of course, two separate female students. And both of these female students wanted nothing to do with Cho. They both brought police in.

Now, after the second incident, after police had talked to Cho, an acquaintance of Cho called police and said they were concerned that he was suicidal. Police touched base with him again. They asked if he'd see a counselor. He went to a counselor, and at this point a temporary detention order was obtained and he was taken to a mental health facility.

Of course, all of this happening at the same time that he came to the attention of police for another reason. Here's what Virginia Tech's police chief said at today's news conference.


CHIEF WENDELL FLINCHUM, VIRGINIA TECH POLICE: It was also in the fall of 2005 that the chair of the English Department, Dr. Lucinda Roy, informally shared her concerns regarding Cho and his course writing assignments. No official report was filed.

These course assignments were for a creative writing course, and the students were encouraged to be imaginative and artistic. The writings did not express any threatening intentions or allude to any criminal activity. No criminal violation had taken place.


KEILAR: Two important points. Virginia Tech police say they believe that Cho was voluntarily committed to that mental health facility.

This is very important, because if you look at the firearms purchase test, there is a question that asks if you've ever been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility. If you have been, that raises a red flag, and then you're not supposed to be able to purchase a weapon.

Also, a lot of people asking, those two young women who called in the police saying they didn't want to have anything to do with Cho, they wanted him to stop contacting them, a lot of people wondering if they were among the victims. Virginia Tech police told us they were not.

Meanwhile, here on campus, people are coping. They really don't have a choice.

It's very difficult, but they're trying their best to cope. One of the ways they're doing that is through prayer.

We're here in the center of campus on drill field. And a short while ago there was a prayer service organized by campus ministries. Also, behind me there's a makeshift memorial, and people are on this hill behind me signing notes to individuals who are victims. There are some people coming from other colleges just to express their support for all of the people here at Virginia Tech -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And you know what? I was going to ask you that, Brianna, what was going on behind you. And you explained.

There's a speaker up there now. Are people just sort of talking and getting up and saying their peace behind you?

KEILAR: No, actually, I'm trying to make out exactly what that is, Don, but it appears that some sort of evangelist has actually set up a speaker on the field across from me and is preaching. So that appears to be what that is.

Actually, if you go up on the Hill, and before he began speaking a few minutes ago, it's very quiet. People are just sort of touching base with each other, offering support, and crying. Crying as they sign those boards, those placards up there.

LEMON: Yes. And I didn't mean to throw you, and obviously I didn't, because you handled it perfectly, but that was the first time I heard anything like that behind you on any of the live shots.

Brianna Keilar, thank you so much for that report.

WHITFIELD: Two days after the tragedy, five more victims' names have been released. Matt Gwaltney was a second year grad student from Chester, Virginia. He was studying civil and environmental engineering, but he loved to play basketball and softball in his free time.

Freshman Rachael Hill was an only child interested in biology. She was a high school volley ball star and an accomplished piano player. Friends and school officials say she was deeply religious.

Jarrett Lane was a senior about to graduate. The civil engineering major was his high school valedictorian and a four-sport athlete back in Narrows, Virginia. He turned 22 just last month.

Henry Lee's family emigrated from China when he was in elementary school. Unable to speak English when he first arrived, Henry became a citizen in 1999. He was a freshman studying computer engineering.

Partahi Lumbantoruan was a graduate student from Indonesia. Not much else is known about him.

Michael Pohle of Flemington, New Jersey, liked to play lacrosse. He was majoring in biological sciences and worked as a bartender in town to earn some extra money.

And Julia Pryde, well, she was a graduate student from Middletown, New Jersey. We wish we knew more about her.

And Waleed Shaalan came to Virginia Tech from Egypt. He studied civil engineering.

And Leslie Sherman was a sophomore. She was interested in history and international studies.

LEMON: Now on to another victim. This one survived the Holocaust. He escaped Romania's communist rule, but it is Liviu Librescu's final act that many says defined him. The 76-year-old professor blocked the door of the classroom as the gunman tried to get inside.

And CNN's senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff, joins us from Brooklyn, New York, where a funeral service is about to get under way for the professor.

It's getting ready to start soon, right, Allan?

LEMON: Apparently, we're having a little trouble with Allan's microphone. But again, Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust, was a professor there at the university. And according to the students there and his family, students sent his family e-mail saying that he threw himself in harm's way, in the doorway, trying to save them.

So definitely a hero. Survived the Holocaust and then now had to deal with this.

WHITFIELD: Such a sad story. We'll try to get back to Allan Chernoff when we try to reestablish that connection.

Meantime, at the medical examiner's, they have been trying to confirm the identities of the last of the shooting victims.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins us with more on that -- Deborah.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, the families have not been able to see those who died. The autopsies are being conducted right now by the medical examiner.

They can't rely on any sort of identification that was found, for example, in pockets or backpacks. And the reason it's taking so long, the medical examiner's representative says, is this whole thing has been devastating enough, to give the wrong name would be even worse.


LARRY HILL, MED. EXAMINER'S OFFICE SPOKESMAN: Some of these cases they're having to do fingerprint process, and it's being delayed because fingerprints aren't immediately available around here. And some fingerprints are having to be sent for comparisons. A lot of times you use photographs as an identification process, but that's not always the best way, because there can be mistaken identities sometimes using photographs.


FEYERICK: Now, it's also taking time, because this is a criminal investigation, and therefore the autopsies are also being done in order to collect evidence and determine the exact cause of death, something that will go into the police file. This, of course -- while they are being very thorough, it's very frustrating for some of the family members who have been here on campus just waiting to hear when they can bring their children and their loved ones home -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Deborah, is that indeed the case? You have got family members who have come to the campus, or at least the medical examiner's office, and they're awaiting some sort of word so they can go in and help I.D.?

FEYERICK: Well, that's exactly right. And, you know, you always see in the movies where somebody goes into the morgue and they identify the person who is there.

That hasn't been the case. They haven't been even able to see those children. And that's got to be even more devastating.


FEYERICK: So they're here, they've got counselors, they're just waiting for any word as to when they can go and be close.

WHITFIELD: Just further compounding the agony that so many of these family members are going through.

Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much.

LEMON: President Bush is expected to meet this hour with congressional Democrats at the White House. They are trying to work through the deadlock and the president's veto threat over funding the war in Iraq.

CNN's White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano, is standing by for us with more on that.

Hi, Elaine.


That's right, President Bush is showing no signs of backing down in the political stalemate with Democrats over Iraq war funding. In just about 20 minutes or so, he will sit down with congressional leaders from both parties to talk about this, and he's expected to reiterate his position that he will veto any legislation that does in fact include timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals in Iraq.

Now, Democrats have continued to insist on timetables, although differences do exist in the versions of the bills passed by the House and the Senate, differences that the White House notes have not been reconciled yet and which the White House argues illustrates the lack of a coherent Democratic voice in this debate.


DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Democrats have said that they will not vote to cut off funding for the troops, and yet they can't come to an agreement among themselves as to how to get a clean bill to the president. So the president is saying negotiate among yourselves first, if you need to send me a bill that I have to veto, I will do it, reluctantly, but that's -- that's going to be his position. And so it's the Democrats that need to negotiate amongst themselves first before coming and asking the president to change his positions.


QUIJANO: So the White House continuing to put political pressure on the Democrats. At the same time, Democrats trying to push right back.

President Bush is expected, Don, to make some remarks before this meeting gets under way, and we hope to hear from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers after the meeting is over -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Will you update us, Elaine?

QUIJANO: Absolutely.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: The killer next door.


KARAN GREWAL, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: I just saw him Monday morning at 5:00.


WHITFIELD: Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, a close encounter not long before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

LEMON: Strong shoulders are what a lot of folks need right now, and, of course, unshakable faith. Reverend Franklin Graham offers both to a grieving community. He'll join us live from Virginia Tech, that campus, straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.



LEMON: And family members from the Virginia Tech shooting, they are starting to lay their loved ones to rest, including this man. He's a 76-year-old professor at the university -- he was. Liviu Librescu.

A funeral service is about to get under way now in New York -- in Brooklyn, New York, specifically.

And our very over Allan Chernoff is there -- Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don The funeral service expected to begin shortly. And it will be quite brief.

The rabbi told me that he will pretty much just say a memorial prayer, a few quick comments. This is not Professor Librescu's home, of course. He's originally from Romania, then lived in Israel, and the body is going to be sent over to Israel actually this evening. So this funeral home here is pretty much (INAUDIBLE), and from here will be sent over to Israel.

No, of course, they do, nonetheless, want to give the greatest honor to the professor, because he really did die as a hero. As we've said, he literally barricaded the door as the gunman was shooting and had his students jump out of the second floor to safety, and the professor himself literally died as he was protecting his students.

His wife Marlene (ph) arrived a little while ago, and she said she was not surprised at all at her husband's heroism. And even the president earlier also honored the professor.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety.

On the day of remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so that others may live. And this morning we honor his memory and we take strength from his example.


CHERNOFF: The professor of aerospace engineering taught at Virginia Tech for more than two decades. Before that, he taught in Israel, and he was honored for his contributions to the field, specifically very much so in composites.

His research, we understand, actually helped to improve the structure of aircraft. So he really was a leader in his field, and as we said, now he has died as a hero -- Don.

LEMON: So much. It just seems wasted, so many lives there.

All right. Allan Chernoff, thank you so much for the report.

WHITFIELD: So many lives wasted, so many people left grieving. Now strong shoulders and unshakable faith. Reverend Franklin Graham offers both to a grieving community. He joins us live from the Virginia Tech campus straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

But first, as we go to break, a look at some of the names of the victims of this tragedy.


WHITFIELD: An industrial chemical linked to the deaths of pets found in a second pet food ingredient now, rice protein concentrate. Today the nationwide recall expands.

It now includes Natural Balance Venison & Brown Rice dog food. That's in both forms, canned and bagged. Also, Venison & Brown Rice dog treats for cats. The recall now lists the New Balance Venison and Green Pea dry food.

One hundred other brands have already been recalled nationwide. The contaminant is melamine, used in making plastics and other industrial processes.

For a complete list of all the recalled pet food, just go to

LEMON: Boiled chicken and rice, that's a good alternative if you could...

WHITFIELD: I think so.

LEMON: Yes, you never know.

OK. Midnight, that was the tax deadline, but there were so many procrastinators, including myself, that one company's computer servers was overloaded, and many returns did not get filed on time.

Susan Lisovicz joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange to tell us who is affected and whether those people will face late fees because of that.



LEMON: Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN word headquarters in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Fixing the broken bodies, well, that's a job for doctors. But what about the broken spirits? Reverend Franklin Graham hopes to heal Virginia Tech's invisible, but very real wounds. We're talking to him right after this, in the NEWSROOM.

Right after the shooting, grief counselors and chaplains rushed to the Virginia Tech campus. They came to listen and provide some comfort, as students and professors struggled to make sense of what has happened.

Among them the Reverend Franklin Graham, who now leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

And Reverend Graham, thanks so much for taking the time out.

You have launched a rapid-response team of counselors there on campus to reach out. About how many people do you have? And how do you manage to reach out to all of these students and faculty members who are grieving in so many different ways? REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT & CEO, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Fredricka, we've got about 20 chaplains right now on campus. Some are at the inn. We have them at the hospitals. We have them stationed across campus just to be able to talk to those students that are wanting to talk.

They've already been able to speak to about 250, to have prayer with them. And at a time like this, Fredricka, one of the -- one of the big issues is not so much what you say, it's just a fact that you're with them, and you're -- you just pray with them and put your arm around them and give them a hug and let you know -- let them know that you're standing with them.

And of course, as a minister of the gospel, I want to share the hope with them that I have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And I want them to know that God loves them and he cares for them very much. And he hasn't forgotten them, he hasn't left this campus.

And it wasn't God that was responsible for this carnage. I believe the devil did it. I believe he's responsible. He's the one who wants to destroy life. God wants to save life, preserve life.

And so I just want to try to love these kids and just be here for them.

WHITFIELD: Well, that's interesting, because there are a lot of students who at a time like this might be saying, well, that this happened, where was God?

GRAHAM: Well, God is here. God hasn't left, but we know, Fredricka, that there's evil in the world. I've seen it in Rwanda; I've seen it in Darfur, where I was just a few weeks ago. I've seen it in Bosnia. Evil is all around us.

But the Bible tells us that God loves us and he cares for us. He's provided a way for us to be with him in heaven, and that's through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.

I want these children, I want this campus, I want the folks here to know that God has not left this campus. He's here. And if they're willing to call, by faith call his name, he will answer them. He's here for them.

This healing process is going to take some time, Fredricka. This is not going to be something that will be -- be easy to deal with. It's going to take time. And we're just here to pray with them and to love them and talk to them when they're ready to talk.

WHITFIELD: And because it's going to take time, you talked about being able to reach those students who want to talk.

But what about those who are not initiating talking? You can't tell that they want to talk. Perhaps some have become a little bit detached from the rest of the student body or even teachers, because they're grappling with what just happened and how do I deal with my emotions. How do you reach that student or young person who isn't outwardly exhibiting the fact that they need to talk?

GRAHAM: We're not going to be able to talk to everyone, Fredricka, and there are those that kind of pull in. And they're not easy to get to.

But I pray, Fredricka, that God will just show our chaplains, and show those that are up here ministering to these kids that God would open the doors for us to talk to them, and that the holy spirit of God would lead us to these individuals that need God's touch, need God's help.

WHITFIELD: So what do you say to this student...

GRAHAM: So a lot of this is just prayer.

WHITFIELD: Well, let me ask you, Reverend. What do you say to the student who says, help me understand why? Because everyone's walking around with the question of, why? What do you say to them?

GRAHAM: Fredricka, I don't know why. I wish I -- I wish I knew. There's a lot about this I can't answer. But what I can tell them, and what I can assure them is of God's love for them.

And the healing process is going to take place. This campus will heal. They'll never forget, but they'll be healed. And that healing process, I believe, comes through almighty God.

When we bring young men and women, when we bring people to God's word and introduce them to a God in heaven who loves us, God supernaturally can reach into the heart and touch the heart of each and every person, and every heart is going to have to be -- is going to be healed one at a time.

And I'm asking, Fredricka, that the churches this Sunday across this country pray for the students and for the families and of victims here at this wonderful campus of Virginia Tech. That healing process, I believe, will begin as the churches start to pray for these men and women this Sunday.

WHITFIELD: Reverend Franklin Graham, thanks so much for your time. And I know a lot of folks on campus appreciate your time in that you are directly reaching out to a number of people in need.

And as we say, there -- on the Virginia Tech campus, there are so many different kinds of needs, so many different approaches. Also in the next hour we're going to be joined by spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, about his take on how to reach a number of those young people on campus in this time of grieving -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And they definitely are going to need a lot of it, need it now. Thank you very much, Fredricka.

Cho Seung-Hui, his suite mates, they lived with him. They saw him regularly. Now they're trying to come to grips with his deadly rampage. One of these saw Cho on the morning of the massacre, and he talked with "AMERICAN MORNING's" John Roberts.


KARAN GREWAL, CHO'S SUITEMATE: I just saw him Monday morning at 5 a.m. I was up all night finishing an assignment for Monday class. And I went to the bathroom about 5 a.m. to freshen myself up. And while walking out, he was -- he walked right back -- right in when I was walking out.

I saw he face. He didn't look me in the eye, same old thing. I left him alone, you know, as I did throughout the semester, because he didn't speak at all.

JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": There was no indication, even from his body language on Monday morning, that something was up?

GREWAL: No, I saw him -- throughout the week. I saw him on Saturday go to the gym. On Sunday morning, no indication. It was the same plain look on his face, no smile, no frown, no anger.

ROBERTS: And you never saw any weapons?


ROBERTS: Because he had them there, according to the police.

GREWAL: No, I talked to Joseph, who lived in the same room as him. And he was really surprised. He was actually shocked to learn that there could be something in the room that he was stowing.

The only thing we learned when the police was there, that he had a battery-powered drill or a screwdriver that he recently bought, which was in his room.

ROBERTS: A battery powered drill or screwdriver? Was it a Dremel?

GREWAL: I heard them say that it was used to do something with the serial numbers.

ROBERTS: Right, because the serial numbers had been erased off of the guns. And in one of the searches, and I don't know if it was his home in Centreville -- maybe the information you're giving me runs counter to that -- or the search of his room, that one of the items that was taken was a Dremel, and that's one of those small devices that can be used for grinding things. It can also be used for etching, as well.

GREWAL: Well, the police questioned us about a box that was in our suite area, in the common area. A lot of times people leave trash before they take it out. And they asked me if I had seen that before, and I hadn't seen that piece of box there before Thursday.

ROBERTS: OK. Did you ever get a sense that this guy could be violent? GREWAL: No, throughout the -- I never saw him see any violent shows or do anything violent. He wasn't a big person in any way. He recently started -- started going to the gym. I saw him, saw him there twice a week, at least. But he was pretty small and didn't seem like anybody who would pick a fight. He was just shy.

ROBERTS: When did you hear that it was him that was responsible?

GREWAL: Well, even when the police got there and they started questioning us about everybody in our suite separately, you know, it didn't cross my mind, you know, that it could be him, even when I heard it was an Asian male.

ROBERTS: And when you heard that it was your suite mate, what went through your mind?

GREWAL: It was just -- it was really shocking. You know, scenarios go through my head, because I saw him that morning. And you know, I thought what if I would have said something to him throughout the semester that would, you know, have made him angry at me?


GREWAL: And you know, we never lock our doors in our suites. It's always open for anybody to come in. And even when I went back to the room, I was up until 6:30 in the morning finishing my assignment, and the door was wide open.


LEMON: That was Cho's roommate on "AMERICAN MORNING". Others who lived in Cho's dorm describe him as sullen and also a loner -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Universities and colleges across the U.S. are remembering the Virginia Tech shooting victims. Students are sending us their i-reports of some of the events taking place on their campuses.

Here's some of the pictures from a memorial service held last night in College Park, Maryland, University of Maryland. Hundreds of students gathered to show their support. One sign sums it up. It says, "Today We're all Hokies". That's the nickname for the Virginia Tech students.

LEMON: And fighting to survive, a pair of bullet wounds, but quick thinking keeps this Virginia Tech student alive. That is straight ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: And as we told you at the top of the hour, a funeral service for Virginia Tech Professor Liviu Librescu was getting under way. It is under way now, and his wife spoke just moments ago. She was speaking about his life and work. Her name is Marlena.

Let's listen in.


MARLENA LIBRESCU, WIDOW OF LIVIU LIBRESCU: He was a very human person, very, very human. He wanted to help everybody.

And he was a hard man also. He wants everybody to be 100 percent, and he asked from himself the same. He worked very hard. From morning to midnight he was working. He was very anxious to make new discoveries.

He wasn't a young person, but he was so very young and very powerful. He always liked kids. His book was the first foreign (ph) book to appear, and it was very nice.


LEMON: Marlena Librescu, the widow of Liviu Librescu. He was killed while trying to fight back that killer on the campus of Virginia Tech on Monday -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And we're going to continue our coverage of what's happening on Virginia Tech and surrounding it, but right now let's take a look at some of the other news making headlines around the world.

The death toll in Baghdad today startling, even by Iraq's horrific standard as of late. One hundred seventy-one people killed in six separate bomb blasts in and around the city, most of them exploded in mainly Shiite neighborhoods, the deadliest in a crowded outdoor market.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is on a Middle East Turin this week, stopping in Jordan, Egypt and Israel. He's urging regional leaders, especially in Arab nations, to use their influence to help dampen the insurgency in Iraq.

And in the Philippines, a ten-day search for an American Peace Corps worker ended in the worst possible way. Julia Campbell's body today was found in a remote mountainous region where she went hiking. Whatever happened to her was no accident. She had been buried in a shallow grave. Police are now investigating.

LEMON: And here in the United States, the Supreme Court today handed down a major victory to abortion rights opponents when the court upheld by a 5-4 vote, a 2003 federal law banning the procedure critics have labeled partial-birth abortion.

CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says today's decision reflects a new conservative majority of the George Bush Supreme Court.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is the first time that the Supreme Court has ever considered a law that bans a particular kind of procedure, a particular kind of abortion in all 50 states, and approved the ban.

Almost the same law came before the justices in 2000, when Justice O'Connor was on the court, and the justices said, "This is unconstitutional; it violates a woman's to choose."

Alito is in, O'Connor's out. Same issue, 5-4 upholding the ban on abortion. It just shows George Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court have moved the court in a more conservative direction, and that's what the president wanted.


LEMON: And most of the estimated one million abortions performed in the U.S. every year are not affected by today's ruling. Ninety percent of U.S. abortions happen in the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.

WHITFIELD: In her own defense, Mary Winkler, charged with killing her minister husband, has been on the witness stand since this morning. Looking down most of the time, she described Matthew Winkler as smart and talented but someone who grew increasingly angry, even violent over the years.

She testified she would do whatever he said to try and keep the peace, even viewing pornography with him on his computer.

The morning of March 22 last year she says they awoke to their 1- year-old crying.


MARY WINKLER, ACCUSED OF MURDERING HUSBAND: He walked into the room, and then I got up and went after him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say went after him, what do you mean went after him?

WINKLER: I followed after him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you catch up with him?

WINKLER: Yes, sir.


WINKLER: In Brianna's room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was he doing?

WINKLER: Suffocating her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean pinching her nose?

WINKLER: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do? WINKLER: I said, "Can I please have her?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get her?

WINKLER: Yes, he just threw his arms up and walked out and walked away from the crib.


WHITFIELD: The prosecutor has painted a far different picture of the victim, one of a good father and husband. Asked under cross- examination whether Matthew Winkler deserved to die for anything he did to her, Mary Winkler said no.

LEMON: All right. This just in to CNN, the president speaking to congressional leaders now about Iraq war funding. Let's listen.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... for all of us here, that we send our prayers to the families of the victims, and we send our prayers to the friends of the victims, and we also send our deep concerns to the Virginia Tech community.

This fine educational institution is going through a lot of trauma and pain, and all of us here care deeply about -- about their lives, and they just need to know it. They need to know that people -- people grieve for them.

I also want to thank the leaders from Congress for coming down. I'm looking forward to what will be a -- one, I suspect, of many conversations on -- on this war in Iraq and other major foreign policy issues. I -- we're going to have a very good discussion.

People have strong opinions around the table, and I'm looking forward to listening them. And I've got my own opinions, which I'm more than willing to share. The whole objective is to figure out how best to get or troops funded, to get the money they need, to do the job that I've asked them again.

And so again, I want to thank you all for coming. I'm looking forward to our discussions.


LEMON: All right. The president meeting with Democratic leaders to discuss Iraq war funding. You saw Nancy Pelosi there sitting next to him.

He also started off, though, by addressing the folks at Virginia Tech and all the outpouring that's happening today across the country, and then he said he's looking forward to a productive meeting with those leaders.

Our Andrea Koppel is on Capitol Hill, and we're going to check in with her in our next hour.

WHITFIELD: Well, fighting to survive now. A pair of bullet wounds, but quick thinking keeping this Virginia Tech student alive, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: One shooting victim fighting for his life, heroic efforts keeping him off the list of fatalities for now. Here's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. DAVID STOEKLE, HOSPITAL CHIEF OF SURGERY: We had a gold alert trauma alert called. There are multiple very serious injuries coming to the hospital. By the time the first student hit the emergency room, we had three general surgeons there.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doctors rushing to save lives. Mothers praying they'll be successful.

SUZANNE GRIMES, MOTHER OF KEVIN STERNE: He got shot twice in the upper thigh.

GUPTA: Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Sterne's mom was out shopping for his upcoming graduation when she got the unimaginable call.

GRIMES: It felt like a bomb just dropped.

GUPTA: She learned a bullet had hit her son. In all likelihood he was bleeding to death.

DR. HOLLY WHEELIND, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT PHYSICIAN: We would take care of one and another one would roll in.

GUPTA: No time for emotion. One patient after the next, after the next, and after the next.

(on camera) The next one was Kevin Sterne, a 6'2" senior, who minutes after being shot was brought to this emergency room and then rushed into the hospital, where doctors heroically tried to save his life.

What we now know is that the race to save him actually started in the field.

(voice-over) Having just been shot not once, but twice, and having seen several of his classmates killed, Kevin decided to fight for his life.

STOEKLE: He had a gunshot wound right through his femoral artery. He was an Eagle Scout. He wrapped a wire cord from, apparently, an electrical -- something electrical that was in that classroom. He wrapped it tightly. And I think he had one of the other students help him wrap this around his leg, because he knew he was bleeding to death.

MATT LEWIS, VIRGINIA TECH RESCUE SQUAD: If he had enough common sense to hurry up and fix himself, that's amazing. That's a real hero right there. GUPTA: Still, several minutes had passed. The major artery supplying blood to his leg was shredded apart. The skin and muscle would start to die. Just a little more time, and his heart would die, as well.

Finally, 30 hours after the ordeal began, good news.

STOEKLE: He's stable, and I think he's going to be here a while.

GRIMES: There is good in our country. There's good in Blacksburg, there's good in Virginia Tech, there's good all around. You just have to focus on it. You have to be positive. And as far as Kevin, he's a tough trooper.

GUPTA: Kevin will walk out of the hospital, both his leg and his life saved, when so many others died.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.


LEMON: A loss for words after so many lives lost. Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, Deepak Chopra addresses a question many people are asking: why do bad things happen to good people?


LEMON: Hello, I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

One man's courageous last act, another disturbing last look. Paula Zahn joins us here in the NEWSROOM with personal stories from Virginia Tech's worst day.

LEMON: And plus the search for meaning is never easy, but how can you find it after such a stunning and senseless attack? Deepak Chopra joins us live with more on regaining your spiritual balance.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is the top of the hour, and we're learning much more about the Virginia Tech massacre and the gunman and the victims today.

WHITFIELD: Police revealed that gunman Cho Seung-Hui was temporarily hospitalized for mental illness back in 2005. Earlier, police investigated him in at least two campus stalking incidents.

LEMON: And he bought a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol, one of two ...


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