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. Alisa


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

    hmm finals must be stressful

    December 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chief Testicals of Bull

    I used to make iReports for CNN about my reservation in Arizona......... but then I took an arrow to the knee......

    December 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ninja Food

    Develop "MINORITY REPORT" technology ... It helps to reduce future crimes.

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

    Yep, there should be more guns there. That should solve the problem.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EpicWin

    Wouldn't be surprised if it comes out later that he was possessed by his spirit.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tiladx

    I have a former co-worker whose daughter was attending classes at Tech when Cho went on his rampage, and he was scared s***less that afternoon at work. My prayers go out to the entire Virginia Tech family. All Virginians are Hokies today.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NmdcOne

    uhh...someone way up at the top of the comments has the idea that "lockdown" means "under armed guard"

    lockdown simply means that the school buildings are "locked down" in or out until the crisis is the article's use of the term was accurate

    December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mageen

    Have a slew of grandchildren who would be "legacies" at Tech but not any more.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff324

      so you are going to let the decisions of 2 people deprive your grandchildren of one of the best educations they can receive? Virginia Tech is comprised of people of the highest character and I refuse to let the actions of 2 individuals taint that reputation

      December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwin

      Jeff is kids will be legacies and I hope they decide to go to Tech.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kb

    There was just a campus carry rally at VA TECH recently and if this had happened on that day, you'd have about 100 law abiding armed citizens on site protecting the student body who is at the mercy of criminals – as was shown today. If you allowed campus carry for students then every student would be able to protect themselves too. The answer is not run and hide, the answer is not ban guns, the answer is not to let the police do all the work. Everyone has the inalienable right to defend themselves and since a police officer isn't always around to protect you, you should plan ahead, be responsible and be prepared. Unfortunately today we lost a law enforcement officer in the line of duty and he is worth more than all of you who've joked about this tragedy combined.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      You can't arm a bunch of students that have no experience with a gun. Have you ever had to shoot someone? Not everyone can do it. Police go through months of training, and many hours every month to keep their skills up. What if you were shooting at the suspect, missed, and shot someone far behind him? Would all the students think to look for that? Sorry, but stupid idea! do you know you wouldn't be giving a firearm to someone who ends up being the suspect later?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      I agree students who have the proper permits, should be able to carry their guns wherever they please. However, to say that enabling students to do so would have prevented this is downright ignorant. We do not know if it would've helped or hurt the situation. They deserve to carry guns as a right/privilege, not to carry out some sort of martial law.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • In America

      I agree with everything you say. To run away and hide suggests that the assailant come and seek not to flee because he/she intuitively understands that the police are on the way. The police were on the way during the first VT shooting and over 30 died. I don't like the odds of hiding its too much like game. Gun and students with mental or personality problems can't draw a clear line in the sand that the dead are not responsible for his problems, shouldn't be pun shined for his problems and they certainly no longer feel pain from his actions. Everything these disturbed people do run contrary to the flow of logic. Stop him before he fires a second round and the problem disappears. The odds are fair – 1 assailant’s family’s pain in exchange for sparing the pain of 30+ innocent families is a deal I’d make all day long. Yes Sir, that’s a Black Friday Fire Sale if I’ve seen one.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jacktup

    If you're thinking about shooting others, first: think about it, second: if you can't not shoot another human being, take your own life: it will put you out of misery and save misery from others.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Larry

    Dangerous campus to go to school at some might think, but it is just college and these are two isolated incidents.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      Just two isolated incidents, oh and that guy who cut that girls head off in a campus coffee shop.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prayersforhokies

      Actually there have been more than two incidents. Did you not ever hear of the beheading after the massacre? Look it up. That campus has seen too much.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeffrey

    I heard theres more than one suspect and that now there is a pursuit with armored troops?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. idontunderstand

    What is the fascination with killing these poor kids and staff at colleges an universities around the country? These are just kids going to class and University cops trying to earn a paycheck to feed their family. I just don't get it- has everyone lost their minds?

    This country has become sooo messed up !

    I pray for the families of the police officer and innocent bystander involved.

    What a tragedy.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamison

      they are gun free zones, it makes an easy target for gunmen, criminals typically go to places where the threat to themselves is the least gun free zones make the perfect targets

      December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • typeav

      not just the country but the all world

      December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Well when the police are enforcing unethical laws .... people will resist.... correct the law to something fair for everyone. Not just fair for the rich and powerful!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Opperdienaar

      The gvt is in 4 wars, killing people all over the planet with their drones. They have 1000 military bases in 113 countries. They have to inject fear, hate and violence in society to keep the whole thing from going bankrupt. That has side effects. You can't be killing here and praise it and condemn it over there when someone else does the same thing.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Religiousidiotsarestupid

      Because prayer gets things done. How about you actually get off your lazy ass and contribute something useful and real.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • In America

      This is exactly why your history teacher told you to do your hisotry homework. If you'd put the pecies together, you would have discovered (assuming you have the ability to) that world domination runs in cycles. It never stops, it hasn't yet. Look if you want the cribnotes version go listen to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire". That's a good starting place.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • In America

      I'll give you one more tidbit "idon'tunderstand" Charles Nobel, the scientist who the Nobel Prize was named after wanted to invent a weapon so hideous, so horrible it would deter mankind from ever engaging in war again. He called his invention nitroglycerin. To make it stable he mixed with a clay like substance, nitro moved on it's own can explode with the caress of a gentle breeze. This second incarnation was called dynamite. It was the world first "High Explosive" and immediately replaced black powder as the army's primary explosive charge. Charles Noble ironically made war 20x more deadly than it had ever been before. By the way Enestine had the same idea that worked out well didn't it?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeffrey

    Kb you're right about that, but there are roles in society that are indirectly bestowed on us or should I say enforced to a degree which causes a lot of people to be afraid to some extent when it comes to having to take the initiative and be assertive.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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