Josh Rodgers spent five hours locked in a campus dining hall Thursday, just a few hundred yards from the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech.
Rodgers -- who grew up outside of Ithaca -- was left wondering what was happening outside.
"It was very surreal; I couldn't get a grasp on how this was actually happening again. Blacksburg and Virginia Tech is actually a very safe area, I haven't felt a time when I TMve felt in danger, so it was a tough thing to grasp that this was happening at Virginia Tech, he said exclusively to CNY Central.
Like everyone else on campus -- Rodgers wanted to let his parents know he was okay, but it took more than an hour for his call to get through.
On the other line -- a very relieved mother.
She was glad that I was capable of reaching her, obviously telling me what I was already doing...stay safe and stay put, Rodgers said.
Back here in Central New York -- the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech hits close to home for SU senior David Kaplan.
He grew up in Roanoke, Virginia -- about 45 minutes south of the Blacksburg campus.
"I just texted all my good friends down there trying to figure out how they were doing and what it was like on campus, Kaplan said.
During the deadly shooting rampage in 2007 -- Kaplan was a junior in high school.
"That was one of the longest days of my life, he said.
Now -- his friends are reliving that nightmare as college students.
"Blacksburg really is a great place and it's really hard for them to kind of reconcile...why do these things keep happening in Blacksburg when it's such an exciting place to live, he said.
Tonight -- the healing process begins for a community that knows all too well how to handle this sort of tragedy.
This is a very tight knit community, everyone just loves each other...so for something like this to happen at Virginia Tech...It TMs just very sad, said Rodgers.
A sad day for the Virginia Tech family -- a family that extends right into our backyard.