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Statesboro resident at VA Tech; oversleeping kept him from being near shooting

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Posted: April 16, 2007 6:33 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Statesboro resident Matthew Spiers could have been at the scene of Monday's shooting massacre at Virginia Technical College had he not overslept.
    "If he hadn't overslept his eight o'clock class, he would have been in that building," said his mother, Statesboro resident Bonnie Spiers. "I can't believe something this horrific has happened."
    The death toll reached 33 Monday afternoon after a yet-unidentified gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm. Just two hours later, he  started shooting again in a classroom.
    The gunman committed suicide and killed 32 others in what is being called "the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history," according to Associated Press reports.
    "It is surreal," Bonnie Spiers said. "I want to know why, what happened." Questioning the two-hour time lapse between the shootings in the dorm and the classroom massacre, she repeated, "Why?"
    Matthew Spiers was still reeling with shock Monday evening as he spoke to the Statesboro Herald.
    "It was one of those mornings I slept through the class," he said. "It started off bad early this morning and just got worse."
    Spiers wondered why he was getting so many random phone calls from different people, but was too sleepy to answer them, he said. Then a call came for his roommate, who answered to learn the news.
    "He said "there's been a shooting here,'" Spiers said.
    They turned on the news immediately, around the time the second round of shooting began in the classroom. "It was on every news station. Everyone was in lock down - we couldn't go anywhere on campus," he said. "The death toll kept going up."
    Monday evening, the identities of the victims had not yet been released, and Spiers was among many waiting for word regarding who had been killed.
    "I'm just baffled that it happened here," he said.
    Realizing he could have been a victim had he not overslept, Spiers said "It still hasn't sunk in. There are still S.W.A.T. teams and AK-47's, a lot of emotion."
    Wireless service was overtaxed as everyone tried to "get a hold of friends," he said. Spiers had a number of friends who could have been in the building where the shootings occurred.
    He said plans for a memorial service today were already being formed Monday "so we can show our respect for those involved."
    Fear was still running rampant in the area Monday evening as rumors of a second gunman surfaced.
    "There are rumors there were two shooters," he said. "It's kind of scary. You don't know. With the two hours between the shootings ... you don't know if there is another insane person running around."
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