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. Jeff324

    classy

    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. VT student

    Can you people please quit voicing your opinions on guns, politics and football. I am a student at VT and this is a scary situation, people are hurt. Have some sympathy.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Alisa

    For those who see my comment, it was in response to someone who found it amusing to list their name as Cho and make a joke about the horrific incident that occurred on 04/16/2007.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bob

    My daughters on the campus. Can you give a break until this nightmare is over .

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. J.R

    A campus police officer was shot ! Its very scary up here rite now. When is this gonna stop !

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. us1776

    VT have you cornered the market on nutcases?

    Jeesh...

    .

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ohmybears48

    Yes. Guns make TOTAL sense. Because that police officer, who is trained to shoot and handle a weapon properly, was TOTALLY able to defend himself when he needed to. So it's *obviously* a great idea to give a bunch of college students, ones that have a history of making rash and irresponsible decision, dangerous firearms to "protect" themselves.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amazed

      Umm.. no one has said HOW the officer was shot. If he didn't see it coming, then there is no chance to defend yourself. People need to wait until all of the details come out. We don't even know if the shooter was a college student or just some criminal from the area..Details folks.. kind of important...

      December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      So you figure a shooter walking into a police station has the same chance of killing 32 cops as a shooter walking into a classroom full of unarmed students does?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      your logic is infallible

      except not at all.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petre

      I totally agree with your comment

      December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohmybearslol

      take his gun away he'll bring homemade bombs next time.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohmybears48

      And if you didn't get it the first time... my comment was sarcastic. I'm AGAINST guns in the classroom.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gfaye

    I cannot believe that any of you people would think this is funny. GOD! What is the matter with you?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Q

      Funny? Not necessarily. Just ironic that this is happening again. This is the third (possibly fourth) incident that's happened at tech. I think people are just getting jaded and disillusioned by the way people are reacting. But what would I know, I'm a troll.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeffrey

    Alisa, there are people like those everywhere, this planet isn't perfect, I hope you realize that already. Just ignore

    December 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alisa

      Jeffrey, I do realize, and it is usually quite easy to ignore. But not when it is related to my school, my Hokie family. It is hard to accept. But thanks for the comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Q

    How many kids have been shot on JMU's campus?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stay safe vt

      John q. If you are actually at jmu student your making it look bad and uneducated. Be forutante that it hasnt happened to your school. As it could at any time. At anyone school at anytime.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LB-JMU

    I went to JMU as well and I do not see where you think that it is appropriate to chant "JMU" during a cricis at Tech. We are supposed to support one another, not act like we are better than the other. Show some respect and pray that no one else gets hurt!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. TexasGirl

    FOXnews just posted that the officer shot has been confirmed dead.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ralf The Dog

      Sad.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ericka

    Amen!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Ralf The Dog

    Glad they don't have open carry. Newt gets a bad grade and goes crazy. Sara spots Newt taking a shot at Fred. Sara put's two into Newt's chest and one to his head (Just on the off chance he has armor). Bob is looking at Sara when she fires her shots, so he pumps a few into her. Jeff is Sara's boyfriend so he takes out Bob, while Ed pops a few rounds into Bob, just because he can...

    December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charles Krauthammer

      troll harder bro

      December 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Church of Suicidal

      That doesn't sound like their "I pulled out my Glock and saved the entire class" fantasy. How does this apply?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Squirrel

      Ralf, when people (including faculty, employees, students) have right to carry on campus, greatly reduces the risk of a VT style massacre. Students are there to learn, faculty to teach, and so on. People need the ability to protect themselves at schools and universities.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philly_SW

    I am soo sick and tired of people trying to say that guns don't kill people, people kill people. I'm sorry, bullets do kill people. There are a lot of people that "accidentally" shoot a person with a firearm and the person dies. So maybe it wasn't the "person's" intent to kill someone, but they did die because of the gun being "physically" fired in their direction.

    It does not take any thought or skill to kill another person with a gun, because they are lethal weapons. They are made to kill. You can use guns as a means of defense or offense. Don't tell me guns don't kill people. I've never heard of a knife "accidentlly" going through a window and killing a 3 year old, or a bystander on the street!

    Guns most certainly do kill people. And if you still want to believe the stupidity that they don't, then let someone attempt to break into your house 1 night, and see whether or not you grab your gun, or a fork! Since by your logic, guns don't kill people, then I guess your gun is just as ineffective as you fork, right?

    It's not the person's mentality alone. Even if you have the sick mentality of a serial killer, you're not going to sit here and tell me that a serial killer could murder just as many people in the same amount of time with a knife, hammer, or rope as with a gun, no way! The intent may be there, be the lethality of the tool determines the morbidity of the results. Otherwise, we wouldn't be sending US troops into battle with grenades and rifles!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • McSensible

      According to Jeffry Dahmer, mop handles kill people too. I ran into an angry mop handle the other day and was scared for my life.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrsmass

      so which is it: guns kill people, people kill people or bullets kill people?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LIVE FREE

      You are an ignorant moron. Move to China and see how much freedom you have there, idiot.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandomStranger

      Stop lying to me. car accidents, cigar and me... kill more people than guns. deal with it.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrSatyre

      But you ARE wrong. Whether it's a gun, or a knife, or a car, or baseball bat, no inanimate object can kill or damage anything. People are always wielding those objects with intent to maim, destroy or kill. There is no conceivable excuse for denying the simple fact that insane or criminal people exist and that they try to hurt or kill people or themselves, using whatever is at hand. By denying innocent, law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves with tools that are as quick and as lethal as those being used by the bad guys, you are denying their right to live. You are denying someone else's ability to defend YOU. You do not qualify as a well-intentioned fool. You qualify as criminally irresponsible through your insistence on disarming those of us who want to live.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • SusanQ

      Do guns go off without a person pulling the trigger? Didn't think so.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake

      Hey we todd. the main point is that if you take away guns from sane people like me the criminals will still have guns and will not fear me. I have had guns since I was 8 and my kids have guns now and they are all trained to use them when an intruder comes to this house.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • YoureAnIdiot

      I'm sorry but people kill people. A gun laying properly stored in a holster doesn't jump up and shoot someone. A person with no knowledge accidentally shoots someone. A person with a few screws loose runs off and murders people. So don't tell me guns kill people cause that means drugs kill people, cars kill people, knives kill people, dogs kill people, mountains kill people, etc. I can list off every situation where a person has died to prove my point. If you want to go live in a bubble then go for it. But I enjoy shooting my gun at targets in a safe area the proper way and I have the RIGHT to do that.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly_SW

      Guns kill people, because they carry the bullets that strike you after it's discharged, either on purpose or by accident, doesn't matter. That's what they are mechanically built to do.

      Regardless as to whether or not you're an educated person, a psycho, a serial killer, a kid, a grown up, a disgruntled woman, a scared victim of crime turned vigilante, or a trained marksman; a gun fires simply because it's a mechanical device that reacts to the necessary motion. Just like a car or a lawnmower.

      It's irrelevant if a car is driven by someone, or if the cares gets out of control from the driver; the fact that a car could hit you makes the car a lethal weapon that can kill you, verses someone running you over with a BMX bicycle.

      There most certainly is a difference. This has nothing to do with rights, it's just plain physics and facts.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willowspring

      Sooo, Philly, are you going to recommend everyone stop driving and the government collect all cars, because CARS KILL PEOPLE??? Please try not to embarrass yourself.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • McSensible

      Thanks for helping us make the point that gun carry is a good thing, Philly. LMAO

      December 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly_SW

      @SusanQ – I'm sorry, where have gotten your facts? Guns go off ll the time without people pulling the trigger! Are you kidding me! That's the most uneducated thing I've ever heard. In fact, if it's stillt here, go to YouTube and search for a Miami Police officer that accidentally shot himself in front of school children in their classrom for show and tell. He didn't pull the trigger. Something made it go off after he tried to put it back in his holster. Of course, he should've had the safety on.

      But that exactely proves my point, the gun will fire because you want it, and also by accident. Guns do misfire.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly_SW

      I see, it's the same old arguement that I get from people all the time when you talk to them about guns, you're afraid someone is taking away your rights to have an arm. Oh please, yes cigars kill people. Yes cars kill people.Yes alcohol kills people. In fact, a bee could kill a person. But that difference here is that NONE of those things that you've mentioned have an inherint nature to cause a fatility, that's the difference.

      You can use a hammer as a weapon, but that's not the purpose of why it was built. Ford didn't decide to build cars because rifles weren't killing people fast enough! A car is built with the purpose of transporting people and items.

      There is absolutely no debate that the intent of a gun is to kill life. Now whether or not you use that as a means of protection is your choice. But if guns were built NOT to kill life, then what would be the purpose of buying one? Please tell me that.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • southerner and Hokie

      you proved the case for the opposite. a gun, knife, fork, axe, hammer, screw driver, pen can sit on a table forever and never hurt a soul. All of these TOOLS take a person to use them whether with malicious intent or not. In the end it Always comes down to the person and the choices they make. What has happened is a tragedy, we don't know anything for sure at this point as to why. The important thing now is to have people same and to apprehend the perpetrator and allow justice to prevail. The second amendment was intentionally put in place so that you and I have an insurance policy that protects ALL of the other rights against tyranny either here or abroad. And as history has shown us repeatedly, the pen has brought upon the world more deaths of the innocent than all the combined isolated random shootings. Focus should be on the who and why, not the how. The how is irrelevant, because it doesn't offer any insight as to why at this point.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • southerner and Hokie

      you proved the case for the opposite. a gun, knife, fork, axe, hammer, screw driver, pen can sit on a table forever and never hurt a soul. All of these TOOLS take a person to use them whether with malicious intent or not. In the end it Always comes down to the person and the choices they make. What has happened is a tragedy, we don't know anything for sure at this point as to why. The important thing now is to have people safe and to apprehend the perpetrator and allow justice to prevail. The second amendment was intentionally put in place so that you and I have an insurance policy that protects ALL of the other rights against tyranny either here or abroad. And as history has shown us repeatedly, the pen has brought upon the world more deaths of the innocent than all the combined isolated random shootings. Focus should be on the who and why, not the how. The how is irrelevant, because it doesn't offer any insight as to why at this point.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Assault weapons are the kind of guns that kill the most people!

      http://www.assaultweaponwatch.com/

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