August 4th, 2011
03:12 PM ET

Virginia Tech lifts alert after report of possible gunman

[Update 3:07 p.m.] Virginia Tech has lifted an alert on campus hours after three youths reported that someone may have had a gun there, according to a post on the school's website.

"There will continue to be a large police presence on campus today," the announcement said. "Police
have not received nor discovered additional information about a person possibly carrying a weapon beyond that reported this morning.

"The university community may resume normal campus activity. Only Blacksburg campus classes have been cancelled today."

[Update 11:16 a.m.] Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum warned students and others to continue to stay indoors as police search for a person who may be carrying a weapon on campus.

Several people have been questioned but police have not apprehended anyone, Flinchum said.

[Update 11:09 a.m.] No one is in custody and the campus safety alert remains in effect, Virginia Tech's campus police chief says.

[Update 10:31 a.m.] Virginia Tech is in lockdown as authorities look for a man three youths said may have had a weapon, possibly a handgun.

The white male was described as having light brown hair and being 6 feet tall and was walking in the direction of a volleyball court. The man was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, gray shorts and brown sandals. He had no glasses or facial hair, according to the report.

[Original post, 10:18 a.m.] Virginia Tech, the site of a 2007 massacre, has issued an alert saying someone is possibly carrying a weapon on campus.

Regular classes aren't in session at the moment, but there is summer school. The university in Blacksburg, Virginia, is asking people on campus to stay inside and secure doors. The person was spotted near Dietrick Dining Hall.

In April 2007, Cho Seung-Hui, 23, shot dead 32 people on campus before killing himself.

Are you on campus? Share your account, but please stay safe.

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Filed under: Crime • Virginia
soundoff (562 Responses)
  1. George

    I am mad that they describe the guy as being "white". If this was a black person or a muslim CNN would have simply said police were looking for a male, approximately 6 ft tall.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • MegaRedd

      Just because they call a criminal white doesn't mean it's racially motivated. It's part of the criminal description. The only time you don't list race is if someone was arrested because there's no need to give a racial identifier. How ridiculous would it be to say 48-year-old white/Asian/purple man arrested. It's not relevant. Here it's completely relevant. For all anyone knows there is a 6 foot tall black, Asian, Indian, Native American, etc. man on campus who is wearing similiar clothes and don't have glasses or facial hair. It's an identifier to help people find the man.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • muslim


      August 4, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      To the people arguing against this point – you missed his point. That doesn't mean it was a good one, but it was simply that the press feels safe in fully disclosing facts about a white male while being more restrained when minority race is involved.

      It's not causal though. It's observational. Most people can give better descriptions within their own race lines – so minorities typically have a harder time getting well described. Making his point silly at best.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shawn

    I understand the sensitivity over Va Tech, but this is just 3 kids who mistakenly saw "something" being covered by a towel. No gunman, crazed or otherwise, would be running around in sandals. I hope everyone in Blacksburg just calms down ... if I were on campus, I wouldn't stay inside – it's been like 2 hours!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Tonyr62

      Wow – an actual sane comment. Kudos.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Yes, Tony ... this reminds me of a few weeks right after September 11th, 2001 in NYC. Whenever a plane would "appear" to be going "behind" the city (but actually north/south/west – there are *three* major airports), people would FREAK OUT and call 911 because of the recent tragedy. Good grief – why are we so anxious and pessimistic?

      August 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. G

    nice use of potential tragedy to bolster your sales. shameful.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. me

    Too many angry pple at VT who are pessimistic about their future. Until the VT mentality is addressed, there will be more incidents (plenty already unreported at VT).

    This wont turn out to be anything, I bet, but there is still a terrible culture at VT.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. K Schlosser

    How disrespectful to for CNN to post a picture of the memorial for those lost in the horrible tragedy 4 years ago in regards to this new story. A terrible reminder to those who lost a loved one.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      How is that direspectful?? The tragedy is relevant, and probably a valid link to that crazy person attempting to do the same thing today. Grow up, and get out of here with the PC B.S.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • hmmm

      Quit being a baby.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Dannytelevision

      those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • kbmland

      1) The picture could be referencing the drill field, the most noticeable area on campus.
      2) The picture could be referencing Burrus Hall (across from the memorial) because its the main school administration building.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeremy

    martyr?? wow, lemmie guess youre a skinny little white kid who is mad at the world? you need help bro

    August 4, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lorraine D

    Yes u r the reason people shoot up schools! You have to b so ignorant to the fact people r nuts u don't walk on a collage campus with a gun showing!! That is as bad as walking in a bar with a bunch of drunks???? Stupid

    August 4, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • thatguythere

      y u have 2 abbreviate 3 letter words?

      August 4, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • NoWay

      Are you saying there's "Drunks in a Bar?" No way.....say it ain't so!

      August 4, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • optimist

      Twinkel Twinkel little star guess who carreis a gun today. We have 360 million nuts living in America with no brains or a damaged brain so good luck in finding the gun. I would call the NRA and ask them to help search teh campus.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Perhaps you should apply to VT?
      Take English101

      August 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • BrainHurts

      Did you even go to college? Man, that was painful to read.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. VT Alumni

    As part of the CNS summer crew that installed the indoor flashing LED signboards after the 2007 shootings, I am glad that all that hard work has been put to good use when such incidents happened again. Good Luck and stay safe all!!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • ehhh

      You will need it with such a base of stupid, angry students!

      August 4, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      The bad news is that the alleged gunman was made aware of the alert through external loudspeakers also and is, therefore, probably long gone... Hopefully this is a false alarm. Otherwise, I do sincerely hope they catch this guy BEFORE he kills anyone.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • VT_Grad

      Those signs are great and obviously some people have never been to Blacksburg. This is one of the best campuses I have been to and the people here are great. Although anywhere you go there is always one that is angry and stupid (ehhh). I am sitting here in my lab on VT campus as if nothing has happened, oh wait nothing has happened! Get a life people!

      August 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RichieP

    There's no shooter. Somebody just saw some dude from a long distance and mistook something in his hand for a gun.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Michael

    Too bad the law abiding students are not armed so they can protect themselves. GUNS SAVE LIVES!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      You are suggesting that this gunman is saving lives then? Well, heck, why the big commotion?

      August 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ethan

      Yeah, and have those law abiding regular folks, holding weapons and probably missing on the first try and killing one of the professors and all of them around the criminal shooting towards the middle and killing each other off. That's a bigger massacre. This is not a computer game. Even there people shoot all the place in shootouts and people get killed with lost bullets. There is already a trained police force at these universities to protect and use their weapons.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry Turner

      It's a travesty, all Americans have the right to protect themselves,from danger anywhere they should be , violence unfortunately happens everywhere and no law should keep anyone from being able to protect themselves and even others , from thieves,murderers,psychos, terrorists etc.etc.... There are so many dangers guns save lives

      August 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JOHN


    August 4, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • J

      Haha too true man

      August 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • optimist

      Yes, a computer and a gun that makes a lot of sense. Actually we should all cary guns like they used to a few years ago when we killed teh Indians. Let's just start another shooting war and then lets see who survived. This would cut medicare cost and reduce SS payments.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tonyr62

      Possibly the most idiotic post I have read here – and that is saying something.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • CapeCodHokie're stupid

      August 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      So true, John! Now all the students can start randomly shooting each other out of fear that every person is the enemy! "Hey, there's a tall-ish guy with brown hair and a striped shirt! I better shoot him before he shoots someone else. *BANG* Oh, whoops, wrong guy. My bad. Hey, there goes another guy in a striped shirt! Kill him!" Personal protection, yeah right. You just want to be a hero. Most people in this world are not rational enough to carry a firearm.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sgurdog

    Crawl back in your foxhole troll.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. jorge washinsen

    Right now I am more concerned why the computers at CNN are screwed up again this morning or is it J Edgar calling the shots today.If it is J Edgar it is too late. Everyone knows the stock market is tanking.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Concerned CNNitizen

    CNN – your comment code is horrible.. sometimes it works and other times it doesn't.. your QA process is ridiculous... today I am posting replies to other users' comments and it shows as a new comment.. In the past it used to log me out every time I made a comment. YOU MUST MAKE YOUR DEVELOPERS of the comment tool ensure this works on ALL standard IE, FIREFOX, Opera, Safari, Chrome versions... quit offshoring your technology work

    August 4, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Zander_SIG

    What, IMPOSSIBLE!!! Guns are banned on College Campus! There can't be anyone there with a GUN! It's against the LAW! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!
    Oh well, this is what you get where ever our 2nd Amendment Rights are banned!

    Gun Free Zones = Free Kill Zones!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • DW

      Whose 2nd Amendment rights are banned? We have some of the loosest gun control laws among developed nations in the world.

      August 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
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