Hispanic victims in VA Tech massacre

Posted on April 19, 2007. Filed under: News & Politics |

The victims of Monday’s VA Tech massacre were not only the “rich brats” that Cho Seung-Hui targeted in his manifesto. They came from all walks of life. Some had Mercedes Benz, while others worked at local stores to make ends. The victims were black, white, Hispanic and Asian. They were teachers and students.

Among the victims was 21-year-old Peruvian student Daniel Perez Cueva and 26-year-old Puerto Rican student Juan Ramon Ortiz.

Daniel Perez Cueva

Daniel Perez Cueva and his family moved from Peru to the USA six years ago. “This is a family who has worked very hard to get where they are,” said Jennie Gironda, a family friend who accompanied the mother to Blacksburg after news of her son’s death. Perez, 21, of Woodbridge, Va., was a junior studying international relations. He was interested in immigration and talked a lot about wanting to unify countries, Gironda said. Perez, who worked his way through school, had been employed at a CVS in town. He was preparing a final presentation to the French Consulate, where he was trying to get a part-time research job. He had been taking French classes and spoke and wrote the language. “He was always fighting to come out ahead for his mother and his family,” Gironda said. Read more about him at Journal Peru

Juan Ramon Ortiz, 26

Ortiz, 26, who was from Puerto Rico, was teaching a class as part of his graduate program in civil engineering at Virginia Tech. He was from Bayanon, Puerto Rico, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from San Juan Polytechnical University. The young Ortiz had left Puerto Rico with his new bride only months earlier. The family’s neighbors in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon remembered Ortiz as a quiet, dedicated son who decorated his parents’ one-story concrete house each Christmas and played in a salsa band with his father on weekends. “He was an extraordinary son, what any father would have wanted,” said Ortiz’s father, also named Juan Ramon Ortiz. Marilys Alvarez, 22, heard Ortiz’s mother scream from the house next door when she learned of her son’s death. Alvarez said she had wanted to study in the United States, but was now reconsidering. “Here the violence is bad, but you don’t see that,” she said. “It’s really sad. You can’t go anywhere now.” A funeral is planned in his hometown of suburban Bayamon. Read more about Ortiz at International Herald Tribune.

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