Israeli and Indian families mourn Virginia Tech dead

Families in India and Israel today mourned two professors among the 32 people killed in a shooting rampage at an American university, while the leader of Australia slammed US gun culture.

Families in India and Israel today mourned two professors among the 32 people killed in a shooting rampage at an American university, while the leader of Australia slammed US gun culture.

A gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history yesterday, cutting down his victims in two attacks before turning the gun on himself.

Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics lecturer, tried to stop the gunman from entering his classroom by blocking the door before he was fatally shot, his son said Tuesday from Tel Aviv, Israel.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," said Joe Librescu. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Librescu immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978 and then moved to Virginia in 1985 for his sabbatical, but had stayed since then, said Joe Librescu, who himself studied at the school from 1989 to 1994.

Another foreign professor was also killed. Indian-born GV Loganathan, 51, a lecturer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was felled by the gunman, his brother GV Palanivel told the NDTV news channel from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Palanivel said he was informed by Loganathan's wife, who had identified the body.

"We all feel like we have had an electric shock, we do not know what to do," Palanivel said. "He has been a driving force for all of us, the guiding force."

Loganathan, who was born in the southern Indian city of Chennai, had been at Virginia Tech since 1982.

Local media reported an Indian student was missing.

CNN-IBN said the student, Minal Panchal, 26, a masters student in building sciences from Mumbai, was in the building where the shootings took place.

The station quoted her friends as saying they were unable to contact her and her phone was off.

Indian officials said they were trying to assist the families and determine how many Indian students were involved.

"We are in touch with our embassy (in Washington). Our consular offices are in touch with the dean of students and also with the Indian Students Association," said Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna.

"Consular officials will be travelling to the site this morning," he said.

The shootings, which dominated media reports in many countries, drew widespread condemnation.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a note of condolence to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.

Asked about speculation the gunman - who witnesses described as "Asian" - was Chinese, he said: "We shall not speculate on this as the investigation is ongoing."

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