Waleed Shaalan, a 32-year-old graduate student, came to the United States from northern Egypt last year to study engineering. He lived among other Egyptian students in Blacksburg, Va., and was planning on bringing his wife and one-and-a-half-year-old son to America in May to live with him.
He was gunned down on Monday while he was studying in Norris Hall, but witnesses say he died a hero.
According to Randy Dymond, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Mr. Shaalan was in a classroom with another student when the gunman entered and opened fire.
Mr. Shaalan was badly wounded and lay beside the other student, who was not shot but played dead, as the gunman returned two times searching for signs of life. Just as the gunman noticed the student, Mr. Shaalan made a move to distract him, at which point he was shot a second time and died. The student believed that Mr. Shaalan purposefully distracted the shooter to save him, Mr. Dymond said.
"Waleed was bright, energetic and caring," Mr. Dymond said. "The reason we are in higher education is because there are students who are the bright light to the future. Waleed was one of them."
Equally social and studious, Mr. Shaalan was active in the Muslim Student Association at Virginia Tech, and he especially enjoyed participating in the group's community activities.
The Egyptian Consul has notified Mr.Shalaan's wife and parents, all of who live in Egypt. Mr. Shaalan's body will be flown back to his country in the near future, the vice consul, Mohamed Elghazawy, said.
"This is a very emotional time for his entire family, but especially his mother and father," Mr. Elghazawy said.