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. w.t.effff

    You can post vids here? Didn't think that one through CNN....

    > Inb4 half of /b/ shows up

    December 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EpicWin

    OH MY GOD.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kelly

    2 dead. Fox News Confirmed. Gun Man still on the loose on campus.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    Why do people continue to think that just because you establish a law about banning guns, people that don't obey laws in the first place are just going to have a "change of heart" and miraculously start following it. You are about as dellusional as they are.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • fdsfsadf

      that's liberals for you

      December 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • DP

      Yep, clearly EVERYONE should be waving guns around at all time. There will be WAY fewer shootings that way. SMH

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      It's the loopholes in the laws that make it possible for the criminals to get anything they want. All they have to do is go to a
      "gun show", no background checks necessary, just buy what you want.

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

      No it's true. What is it going to take? Guns should not be so easy to obtain. Yes, many people are responsible and SANE, but there are too many that aren't.

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

      Most gus used in crimes were obtained legally. Im not saying take all the guns away. But when a person with psychotic behavior can walk into a gun show and walk out with a dangerous weapon we have a major problem.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ns151

      It's actually been statistically proven that the concept of banning guns doesn't work because the majority of them are bought off the market. That said, it has also been proven that a proliferation of guns doesn't deter crime, either.

      So both the liberals and the NRA are wrong.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carolyn

      Heard of spell check? That really makes you look smart.

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

      I don't think there is a gun ban anywhere, because it is against the second amendment. But let's not forget that the first gunman was identified by the state as a threat to himself and others, and he purchased his guns just days before the shooting. I am not personally in favor of waiting periods, but I am not opposed to identifying dangerous individuals and denying them the right to purchase guns. Also beware of your argument, because some may take that as reasoning to ban guns altogether, then only criminals will have them.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bob

    See what happens when guns are legal and available? Need more proof? . –p a p a r a z z i n c . c o m

    December 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      And you think that someone who's unstable enugh to murder two people, would be willing to obey gun laws because....

      December 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Also your site sucks

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DP

      And you think every citizen in the country with the ability to buy guns and brandish them will do so safely because...?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Ban guns and see what happens. Black market is what they call it. You will have a much bigger problem is you ban guns. People want what they are told they cant have... see marijuana and all other drugs as an example.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. VT mom

    I've been reading some of the comments on this page,first and foremost prayers to the officer's family. Second, to the mom who said she was "glad her kid changed to a better school", more power to you girl. My son is a senior at VT, will commission into the military on graduation, and is getting the best education he could possibly want or desire. One of his friends was killed in April '07 incident, and even though it happened he still decided to go there. I am a native Virginian but live out of state, and it doesn't matter where you are, there are people who respect laws/people/life and others who don't. Chicago, New York, any large city has gun crimes committed daily. Some person decides to take the law into their hands and do what they want to do and suddenly we're flipping out again. Students at VT, good luck on your finals, ignore the craziness, get your education and bring some good to this country again...please.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy Hangley

      The answer to this problem is so simple. Send people with anger problems to "Anger Management" classes.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    @ Lee
    Whatever the motivation, a person harboring intent to kill will feel empowered by a gun/guns in his hands, the sense of control that he has the instruments in his hands to kill at will confronting or facing his intended victims without hand to hand combat or struggle would certainly drive him on. Yes if he is also prepared & willing to die he'll do that to people who are armed.
    Not so with a hidden bomb

    December 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NoTax

    We need a federal program to assist the average American to buy personal firearms to protect themselves. Use Florida Gov Scott's law as the model for this, where those with permits for concealed carry can enter into any building in the state without being denied, even the state capitol buildings. With more people packing and trained, the intent of the 2nd Amendment will be supported in our current society.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DP

      Interesting. Didn't know the 2nd Amendment was framed to encourage vigilante justice. Somehow they skipped that in HS civics.

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

      But the officer presumably had a gun and was trained to use it. If it can't protect him, how will it protect the average Joe Civilian with minimal training and experience?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Valkyria

    This is so surreal. (Currently at tech, safe and sound in my dorm.) Hope nothing else happens.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FelipeBR

    The man was just exercizing both 1st and 2nd amendments rights.
    Way to go America.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foster

      SHUT UP

      December 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Where in the 1st and 2nd amendment does it say you can kill people? Oh right it doesn't. *mutters to self* shouldn't have fed the troll, shouldn't have fed the troll

      December 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Albert Pujols

    Let me guess.. you like turtles?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charles Krauthammer


    December 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeffrey

    Generalizing all americans .... how stereotypical, not everyone thinks this as a normal occurrence in va

    December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JoAnne

    Everyone needs to keep Virginia Tech in your prayers. This is so sad after all that they have been through. I am little worried about coming up there tomorrow but I hope and pray that they find this guy. You guys at Tech be safe and we love ya!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    Best post in the history of the CNN comments page.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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