Columbia County man among slain

Special
Ryan Clark: 2002 graduate of Lakeside High was set to graduate from Virginia Tech next month.

A college student from Columbia County was among the dead Monday on the Virginia Tech campus.

Ryan Clark, 22, the son of Stan and Letitie Clark of Old Petersburg Road in Martinez, was fatally shot, said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

The victim was just one month from graduation, his twin brother, Bryan, said in a telephone interview. A 2002 graduate of Lakeside High School, Ryan Clark was a band member both there and at Virginia Tech.

Authorities have said the incident, which involved at least 32 deaths, began Monday morning at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory that houses 895 people, according to an Associated Press report.

Bryan Clark said his brother was the resident adviser on the fourth floor of the dormitory.

Mr. Clark said his brother was a triple graduate in psychology, biology and English at Virginia Tech and remained at the school in anticipation of graduation ceremonies next month.

"He was staying just until we could come to graduation," he said. "Just wrong place, wrong time, I guess."

Mr. Clark said he hasn't heard a motive for the shooting.

Ryan Clark, nicknamed "Stack," was in his fifth year in the Marching Virginians at Virginia Tech, serving as its personnel officer, according to the band's Web site.

The site states that Ryan also was a member of the Circle K club and after graduating had intended to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in cognitive neuroscience.

Bryan Clark said his brother was active in college life at Virginia Tech.

"He didn't really come out of his shell until he got to Virginia," he said.

In Columbia County, friends reacted to the news.

"Ryan was the most active, humorous, kind and gentle friend that I could have," said friend Candace M. Lawson, adding, "He will be missed always."

Mr. Collins said an autopsy on Mr. Clark will be conducted by a medical examiner in Roanoke, Va.

"I'm sure it's going to take two or three days, as many casualties that they have, to do autopsies on each one," Mr. Collins said. The body should then be returned to the family in Columbia County, he said.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.