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.

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[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. Seth

    Oh man not again... 🙁

    December 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sara

    Saying my prayers for these students and faculty. Viriginia Tech doesn't deserve this

    December 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. juniorsgv

    hope no one is injured. this is starting to be annoying. gonna need start letting students arm themselves.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      Because that's the solution.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      CW it safer than letting them hide in a corner FOOL

      December 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHat

      Then when the police get there they'll have no idea who to kill. Leave matters of the state up to the state, n00b.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Smith

      Guns at home, fine (I have one). Not at school though, even college. 18-22yos are still "kids" with quick tempers, and for every situation like this that a gun prevented, there would be a tenfold increase in student deaths because someone was mad that someone stole his date, left the dorm room without washing the dishes, etc.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Serious...

      Yeah, because the only thing safer than one maniac with a gun is lots of untrained people shooting back in fear. Sounds like Darwinism at work.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ty

      I'm a student who just got a concealed weapons permit and a nice Springfield subcompact.

      You're never going to get rid of guns and some of the wackos that carry them. I'd rather carry responsibly and provide some protection for myself and the others around me than trust/gamble that it's not going to happen at my school.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ethan

      I'm a student here and I can assure you that more guns aren't the solution. Just imagine a campus full of armed college students on the night of a huge football win or some other such event.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Let's give guns to everyone! Yeah, that's a good idea. Actually taking out the perp instead of the guy standing 10 feet away is much, much harder in real life than you think it is.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Kirkpatrick

      Agree–I don't want to be the person hiding and watching my friends and fellow students being slaughtered. Being ready and able to protect yourself against feloneous action doesn't mean you are anti-American or a terrorist. Hopefully something that never has to be used, but geez, when idiots (who, by the way, don't care about the law) are able to dispense at will another's life... you kinda hope that there's someone–someone on the side of the law, a public citizen, who can stop such an act! People with guns–legally (and mentally stable 😉 )–never scares me.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ty

      Of course giving guns to everyone isn't a solution – and it is most definitely hard to focus under such situations. But once again, with proper training, one can know how to use a firearm to decrease the risk of harm to innocent bystanders.

      Training with your firearm is part of being a responsible owner. Just purchasing it doesn't mean you know how to use it...

      December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHat

      You'd have the kids firing into the air screaming allah ackbar whenever the football team won...bill oreiliy would go nutz!

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

      more guns hmmm that'll help lots! Luckily there aren't huge numbers of drunk people on college campuses to cause horrible accidental shootings or anything like that.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeke2112

      Nice job perpetuating the myth that any CW holder is an untrained r3dneck.

      Once you get the nutjobs to lay down their weapons, I'll happily lay down mine. Not a second before.

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

      I am glad to have my firearms; there has been recent strings of robberies(attempted) by people posing as utility workers. One elderly woman defended her home with her firearm from these attempted robbers; she stood her ground, but sadly passed away later from a heart attack (God Bless Her).

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian "BK"

      Interesting myths... A CCW holder IS TRAINED (or should be if statutes are followed) by law. True–you don't need that in many states to carry... but to ban guns outright is like banning alcohol because of the few who abuse it... put the safeguards in place and punish those who abuse it harshly. You can't stop the nut jobs, but you also can't disarm the folk who protect their family against those who commit such crimes. The 'reckless' run wild when there's nothing to prevent it... well, even then there's some that try anyway. I'll hold on to the second...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • kb

      Having a law abiding trained citizen carrying a concealed handgun would have been a benefit today as well as in 2007. I went to JMU during Cho's rampage at VA Tech, most of my VA Tech friends lived through it, and afterwards I learned how to shoot a gun. I try not to put myself in bad situations in the first place by staying in nice parts of town, not straying from the beaten path and not hanging around people of questionable character but I carry conceal today knowing that if I have to, I will defend my life and not be a victim. Having or using a gun on someone is not the answer, it is a last resort, but for some people bent on causing pain, suffering and death – it is the only solution. My prayers go out to the police officer who died in the line of duty today and I hope that VA Tech learns from this tragedy and allows open and concealed carry by their student body. Maybe next time they'll have something to fight back with.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Who are the college and CNN kidding? Are Va Tech students in dorm rooms and other student-access areas behind locked doors guarded by armed security personnel? Not from your reporting they aren't. So why are you saying there is a lockdown, which suggests a level of protection that doesn't exist. Telling people to seek shelter is telling people to fend for themselves. A lockdown it is not.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      Lockdown is commonly used to state suspension of regular activities, it works perfectly fine in this context.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      No, we don't have guards at the doors but we have been advised to stay indoors and keep an eye out for the suspect.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • kb

      Dan, what would you have done if you saw the suspect and he was intending to do you harm? You've been advised to stay indoors and call the police right? Well my guess is the police had alot of incoming calls, and in the meantime, if he gained entry to wherever you are – what would you do?

      December 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    Seriously...what is wrong in Blacksburg these days??

    December 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jeremy

    As a resident here in Blacksburg and a former VT student .i can tell you that these "GUN FREE ZONE" are the most dangerous in VA

    December 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryanzzzz

      Perhaps, but you're probably speaking in context of the state as a whole, which doesn't say much.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    Again- Really...?? What is wrong with people there?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • zookz

      You may want to rephrase your question, ie: what's wrong with males??

      December 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Webb

    wow again? crimebook...

    December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MS of NY

    I hope it is nothing but a false alarm.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. grant davidson

    lawl lawl

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

    its not a cop was the one shot

    December 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryanzzzz

      Uh, thanks pal for clarifying nothing

      December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      nice intellect there.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Resist710

    White? But I thought white people don't do bad things. I'm confused now.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MS

    Reports are now saying that a cop has been shot.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Carol

    I am a Hokie and will go for my phD to Blacksburg and I really feel we do not deserve this. My prayers with all the Blacksburg students.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. zafar

    It is a sad news to heard in pakistan Our prays with the victum's families.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeppelin

      Salaam and thanks for your prayers and support during this time.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • gumbalay

      thank you zafar! Happy Ramadan! 🙂

      December 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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