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.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/12/08/sot-va-tech-witness-revive.wdbj"%5D

[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. Bob

    Local paper is reporting that a body has been covered in the parking lot where the initial shooting took place.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    Whoever "Matt" is, you should feel ashamed for trying to make such a crude comment at a time like this. Two people on campus have already been shot, and an in-state college rivalry has no place with this article.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gloglos

    My thoughts and prayers for safety are with you at VT.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. really?

    Are people seriously making BCS jokes when people could actully be dead? grow the f up!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLE

      I've no doubt that yes, there are idiots out there who will make these kinds of comments. Sad, but true.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. O

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Guns just make killing much easier.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JoeRetiremo

    its not an asian this time its a caucasian

    December 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Seung-Hui Cho's Ghost

    Lol. I already am. It's not as bad as everyone made it out to be.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    Well, you've created a "free fire" zone there. What did you expect to happen? Why would a person intent on killing some one choose any OTHER place than somewhere he knows there will be no opposition?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      well said

      December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 21-16

    21-16...we will never forget

    December 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jeremy

    IF not a gun bombs made from household chems anyone can get and with free online books like "the anarchist cookbook" .....guide to incendiaries........ trust me you have seen nothing compared to what could have happened. and yes VA does have loose gun law and the GUN FREE zones are; our biggest problem here according to a local crime statistic done here 5 or 6 yrs ago campus crimes (all general) 4 time higher than VA average .....even more than Richmond .

    December 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeffrey

    Why do you people point of the obvious, of course guns aren't the solution depending on the problem and of course college students shouldn't be carrying guns.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      In the past, active gunmen on campus have been stopped by a gun, either their own or one carried by another. The first one ends the situation when the gunman is ready, the other before the gunman can finish.

      Which is preferable?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Squirrel

      Personnel risk is greatly reduced when faculty, employees, students are armed. Please understand that gun free zones provide no safety or security. When your life is on the line, you may have less than ❤ seconds.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J.R

    A campus police officer was shot ! Its very scary up here rite now. When is this gonna stop ! Get the freaks and losers outta here so the rest of us can get on with our school work !!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      What will that solve. You dont have to be a freak or a loser to kill people. just because so called freaks like me dress differently doesn't mean i kill people. Stop stereotyping people and grow up.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ltcoljpm

    " A police officer has been shot on or near the campus of Virginia Tech, the university's website says"

    This could not be ON the campus. The campus is a 'gun free zone' – no one can shoot there. Not even criminals who always obey the laws...

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barney

    It's a shame. But this happens all over the place and should not surprise anyone one bit. However, if you've ever been to VT, something like this happening again is a Twilight Zone episode. VT is the exact opposite of a violent place. This is what makes it so tragic.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ruhawaiian

    Was it necessary to put the 2007 shooting on this article...I am praying this doesn't turn out any worse than it already is.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
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