December 8th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

2 dead, including police officer, after Virginia Tech shooting incident

A Virginia Tech police officer was among two people killed Thursday on the school's campus, prompting a sweeping search and school-wide lockdown that lasted over four hours.

Around 4:30 p.m., the school in Blacksburg, Virginia, announced on its Twitter feed that "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."

Police said the incident started shortly after noon, when the police officer made a traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall. During that stop, a person who wasn't involved in the traffic stop approached and shot the officer, authorities said.

After witnesses told police that the shooter fled toward a nearby parking lot, an investigating officer saw a "suspicious person" alive in that lot. When the officer circled back to approach the person - described as a white male - that person was dead of a gunshot wound, police said.

A Virginia state police spokesman said that police didn't shoot the second person, and he wouldn't say whether the person was a suspect, or whether investigators still are looking for a shooter. But he said investigators feel "confident we located the person," and that "you can kind of read between the lines."

The incident comes more than four years after a shooting spree in which a Virginia Tech student, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself in April 2007.

The following are running updates on Thursday's incident:

[Updated 5:15 p.m. ET] The Virginia Tech police officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in a campus parking lot shortly after 12:15 p.m. was shot by someone who wasn't involved in the traffic stop, police said at a news conference. The shooter allegedly walked up to the officer's vehicle and opened fire, police said.

[Updated 5:11 p.m. ET] Describing the death of the second person, authorities at a news conference said a police officer investigating the slain officer's death saw a "suspicious person" alive in a campus parking lot, and when the officer circled back the approach that person - a white male - he was dead from a gunshot wound.

Police declined to say whether that person shot himself, but a Virginia State Police spokesman told reporters that police did not shoot him.

The state police spokesman wouldn't comment on whether the second deceased person had been the person who killed the police officer. He declined to say whether investigators still are looking for a shooter, but investigators feel "confident we located the person."

"You can kind of read between the lines," he said.

The school's website noted that a weapon had been discovered near the second person - described as an "unknown male subject who was found deceased in a parking lot near the Duck Pond."

The school has said there is no longer a threat on campus, and that people could resume normal activities on campus.

[Updated 4:37 p.m. ET] A weapon was found at the location of the body of a second person killed on the campus, Virginia Tech says. That person, a male, was found in a parking lot, the school said.

[Updated 4:34 p.m. ET] Police have determined "there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place," Virginia Tech has said on its Twitter feed.

The posting told students and staff they could now "resume normal activities."

[Updated 3:48 p.m. ET] Several Virginia Tech administrators - including the head of campus police, Wendell Flinchum, and emergency management director Michael Mulhare - were in Washington Thursday at a federal court hearing on the 2007 shooting on the school's campus, U.S. Department of Education officials said, according to CNN's Sally Holland.

Flinchum and the school were criticized after that incident for not notifying students quickly enough that there was a danger on campus. The hearing was an appeal of the Department of Education's fine of $55,000 to Virginia Tech under the Clery Act, a federal law related to campus safety.

In April, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the case against Virginia Tech "Monday-morning quarterbacking at its very worst."

[Updated 3:45 p.m. ET] In a message on its website, the university knocked down what it called "unfounded" reports of additional gunshots reported heard since the original shooting, saying "there are no new substantiated reports of suspicious or criminal activity."

[Updated 3:07 p.m. ET] Students' final exams that were scheduled for Friday have been postponed, Virginia Tech said on its website. Friday would have been the first day of final exams for the semester.

"A decision regarding the final exam schedule will be made as soon as we have more information," the message said.

[Updated 2:46 p.m. ET] Tauhid Chappell, a student on campus, told CNN that he and other students were getting information through the school alert system, and through the web and radio.

Things felt "very quiet and still," he said. Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Updated 2:45 p.m. ET] A university spokesman says police have a description of a suspect and are searching “absolutely everywhere for the person who matches the description."

The campus is on lockdown, and people on campus are urged to "shelter in place," the spokesman said. The university is urging that no one visit campus, he said.

[Updated 2:10 p.m. ET] Six agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are at Virginia Tech to help with the response to Thursday's shooting, ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson said, according to CNN's Carol Cratty. Twenty additional agents are on standby, he added.

"The agents are very familiar with the campus and the buildings" because they have worked with Blacksburg police since the 2007 mass shooting on campus, Thomasson said.

[Updated 2:07 p.m. ET] The staff of the Collegiate Times newspaper has been evacuated from its offices in the Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus, the paper's Twitter feed reports.

[Updated 1:56 p.m. ET] A Virginia Tech police officer has been shot and killed after making a traffic stop on the university's campus, Mark Owczarski, the university's director of news and information, said Thursday.

The suspect fled on foot toward another parking lot where a second person was also found dead, he said.

The shooter is still at large, he said.

[Updated 1:39 p.m. ET] Sirens were heard around the Virginia Tech campus Thursday, and rescue workers were trying to resuscitate a person who was on the ground, school employee Brian Walls told CNN. The school was on lockdown after shots were reported, and the school's website said a police officer was shot.

Follow the incident via the Twitter feed of the school's newspaper, the Collegiate Times. These reports have not been confirmed by CNN.

[Updated 1:16 p.m. ET] A police officer has been shot on or near the campus of Virginia Tech, the university's website says. A possible second victim is reported down in a parking lot and the suspect is at large, the website says.

Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Posted 1:01 p.m. ET] The campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg is on lockdown after a report of shots being fired on the campus.

The suspected shooter is described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with a neon green brim and a maroon hoodie and carrying a backpack, according to the university's website.

Those on campus should seek shelter or stay where they are, the website says.

In April 2007, Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself.

Are you on campus? Share your story, but please stay out of harm's way.

soundoff (1,084 Responses)
  1. idontunderstand

    george will...you obviously never made it past the 5th grade. Go back to school and get yourself an education.

    or in your case..."book–learnin"

    December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ryan

    I'm currently a student at Virginia Tech, and I am currently locked in Pamplin Hall which is near where the events have taken place. This school is an amazing place with an amazing community, and nothing could happen here that would convince me to go to a different school no matter what anyone says. I feel extremely safe at this school, and I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. To everyone that is being disrespectful, I'm praying for you that you can recognize how tragic some of the events that have happened here are.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MLA

      You feel SAFE? In America?

      Wow.

      Naivete and denial are not going to change anything.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • susan

      may you stay safe ryan it doesnt matter where you are in any part of the world things happen. as long as you feel safe n that community thats all that matters. dont listen to the nansayers they only type to get a negative response anyways, may god watch over you

      December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renesse

      I'm so sorry this is happening to you Ryan. It angers me to see people so disrespectful and ignorant about these issues. Every school is susceptible to violence and crime. It is a risk you take everyday when you get out of house. I wouldn't as calm as you are if this happened to me and I admire you for it. I'll pray for you and everyone's safety in VTech. Stay strong! Love from Canada

      December 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MLA

    Sad. Not even headline news anymore.

    We are becoming a blase'd nation of greed and violence. Nobody even cares. As long as each person gets theirs...

    The American Empire will be extinct within the century, and afterwards, when the historians write books about the decline of the American Empire, an affinity for violence and greed–and the masses' utter densitization to them–will be listed atop the reasons.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • rockysfan

      Feel very safe right here in America. You don't? Feel sorry for you. Have not bought into the media doom/gloom and fear aspect. Life is life, and I intend to live it. The ONLY thing I fear is not enough time on the planet. You should try it sometime, liberating.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CheeseStreet

      You're right. The US will leave the same way it came in...through greed and violence.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hustlenflo

    A new poster boy for the NRA.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ninja Food

    Minority Report Technology.....Put RFID chip on the GUN......

    If ("RFID.chip.Wifi isequaltostring @"32423423") {
    Print ("RED ALERT..... RED ALERT")
    }

    December 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Antwoine in Atlanta

    Gergia Tech students are currently looking for expanded gun carry rights in light of all the asualts, carjackings and home invasions happening on their campus... and now the Virigina Tech campus in the after math of Cho Seung-Hui is dealing with another shooting on campus.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Starman

      Guess the police that was shot didn't have his gun with him.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • HokieLove

      Starman.. obviously the Police Officer could not defend himself even with a gun. However, if others had guns they could have shot the b***tard and prevented him from killing victim #2.

      Not to mention, if this person were to go open fire on more people, then do you really think no one would shoot him and end it if they were armed?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    How can this happen there was a law that you can't have guns there? Oh that's right criminals don't care about laws.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. john

    Why? Why?? Why??? are guns soooooooo easy to get and soooooo easy to use?!? 99.9% of all guns in our country should be banned. What would our country be like without all these gun killings>-DUH!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moonshine7102

      Making something illegal does not make it disappear. See: War on Drugs.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      are you a complete fool? guns are outlawed in most countries, like Saudi Arabia; however that doesn't stop every terrorist who wants one to be armed. wake up moron.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew

    And I'm still waiting for the pro-gun nuts to take down this shooter.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. loc32901

    Is the suspect white or black????

    December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deb

      Does it really matter? Or are you there at VT and want to know details so you can be more observant?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    You are sick. Come over to my place, I've got your cure!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Amanda

    So many of these comments are disgusting. Two innocent people have died. That's two families that lost someone they love and right before the holidays. Now is a time to sympathize with those families and bring the culprit who did this to justice. NOT to insult Virginia Tech or debate guns. I guess some people don't have any compassion.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deb

      Very well said, Amanda. Godspeed to the families of those who were killed.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George

    Well when the police are enforcing unethical laws .... people will resist.... correct the law to something fair for everyone. Not just fair for the rich and powerful! Not saying there should be no laws ... just fair ones. Otherwise ... the police as representatives of a corrupt government ... will be targeted! Sorry not promoting violence just telling you what is going to happen as more and more people are homeless and experience the beatings in the low income areas!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • OBX Lover

      You are an idiot. It was a TRAFFIC STOP!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • OBX Lover

      ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS – not in a "Low-Income" area... I am sure that EVERYONE would agree that Traffic Laws are fair to EVERYONE! If you spped, you get a ticket.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keyser

      Either you are a troll or the worst type of idiot on the face of the earth... Killed over a traffic stop and you feel that it is justified?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What? Seriously, what? You got all that from the report of a traffic stop on the campus? So far, no one knows if the shooter is a student, faculty, staff, VT parent, guest, or random person on campus. The jump to conclusions is more frightening than a gunman on campus. Bad people will walk among us no matter what. Changing laws, rules, etc. won't do anything. Evil exists.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Krauthammer

      Fail! Turning a traffic stop into an example of so-called oppression by the "elite" doesn't work.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • chutchin

      The "low income" areas? On the campus of Virginia Tech? Are you sure you are posting to the right story? Are you serious?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil J

      Dude, you have no idea what happened, and you start spouting off some nonsense. It's ignorant people like you that need to learn how to just shut up!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerm

      Yes. Everyone should be able to help themselves to a car of their choosing! How long must we pay for cars?!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. loc32901

    Suspect white or black????

    December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • WHOOOAAAA!!!!

      And this makes a difference.... how?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • j wall

      does it matter...if you arent out htere looking what do you care..

      December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • blueelephant

      If you read the article it says clearly that the suspect is described as a white male. Reading is fundamental!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • blueelephant

      I agree with the others though. What does this matter?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pay Attention

      In response to "WHOOOAAA"....if you pay attention to the articles, they are still searching for the suspect. So the fact of him being black or white is important in identifying the person. Just as important as male or female and what type of clothing he's wearing.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starman

      Helps to know who/what you're looking for.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joseph

    This is a pretty good example of why conceal carry laws are ridiculous. This officer was TRAINED to use a firearm and found himself on the wrong end of the barrel. RIP

    December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moonshine7102

      Had any of the bystanders been armed, we could have limited the death toll to one.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lance

      I challenge you to find ONE example of a cop killed by someone who held a legal CC permit. ONE. Ready? GO!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • colby

      Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJC

      highly doubtful the shooter had a concealed carry license. upstanding citizens apply for and undergo extensive security checks before a CCDW license is issued. Bad guys aren't usually up for that. just sayin...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ocbg1307

      Not sure why there is so much discussion on conceal carry laws and whether carrying a fire arm should be legal or not legal in any capacity....bottom line as far as I can see is...murder remains illegal no matter how it happens...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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