The story of just one of the many heroes of 4/16/07 from VT

haiyancheng.jpgAccording to her (google cached) VT homepage as of 5/1/05, Haiyan Cheng:

I am a PhD student in Computer Science. My academic advisor is Dr. Adrian Sandu.

I obtained a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Michigan Technological University, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Windsor. My previous research interests were integral methods applied to image reconstruction and security authorization for computational grids. My current reserach interests are the scientific computation and high performance computing.

I am working on the uncertainty quantification using polynomial chaos for Atmospherical Chemical Transport Model (CTM) as a research assistant.

On 4/16/07, she became a hero, saving the lives of the students in the class she was substitute teaching.

Haiyan Cheng praying
This was sent out to VT listservs by Associate Professor Adrian Sandu:

Dear all,

I would like to share with you the outstanding act of bravery that took place today in Norris Hall. Without this wonderful courage the list of victims would have been longer with several Computer Science students. This is the story I’ve learned from Haiyan and Theresa.

Haiyan Cheng, our CS Ph.D. student, was substitute-teaching CS 4414 in 205 Norris Hall this morning. Around 9:45 very loud noises were heard from the corridor. Haiyan and one student went outside to see what was happening. What they saw was a young men with a gun exiting a classroom. As soon as he saw them he pointed the gun to them (and shot at them but missed). Haiyan and the student ran quickly back in the classroom and closed the door after them; Haiyan told the students to lay down; three men from the classroom rushed to the door and held it closed. The killer tried several times to force-enter the 205 classroom. He then shot two bullets through the door inside the classroom. Fortunately these bullets did not hit anybody inside. The killer gave up and went on to other classrooms …

Haiyan and all the students in CS 4414 are safe. They are: Anandakrishnan, Ramamoorthi; Peduzzi, Alicia; Radlick, Brian II; Zhang, Ruiqi; Chambers, Micah; Kaiser, Lisa; Lust, Jennifer; Macko, Nikolas; Motta, Christopher; Petkewicz, Zachary; Quinlan, Brian; Simmons, Jacob; Sweezey, Brett; Walsh, Theresa.

Thank you, Haiyan Cheng, and to the unnamed students for their selfless acts.

Further coverage of this by roanoke.com

Haiyan Cheng photo from http://people.cs.vt.edu/~asandu/Group/people.php
Photo of Haiyan Cheng praying by Jared Soares | The Roanoke Times

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4 Responses to “The story of just one of the many heroes of 4/16/07 from VT”



  • How is she a hero?
    According to her television interview with NBC, she didn’t even see the killer clearly and by her own account, she and that other student she was with were definitely not being shot at after their encounter with Cho.

    I’m tired of these stories creating false heroes.


  • Well the students who blockaded the door sure acted heroically. Tim, what are you talking about?


  • I was referring to Haiyan Cheng in particular.


  • please put Brian Radlick’s name down as Brian Radlick II. he is not brian radlick that is his father. it is Brian Radlick II that was a member of the computer science class noriss hall on 4-16-2007

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