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. Allioop

    If anyone is posting anything but concern for the officers, their families or the students at VT you are just ignorant and go somewhere else.

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

    just a bunch of idiots here arguing whether guns kill people or if people kill people....when your focus should be on the two people who died...just sick....

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

    Get over it if you fools dont mention Mexicos tough gun laws, how are they working out???

    December 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. George Will

    This wouldn't have happened if there were more guns out there...nor would it have if there were no universities or education systems. Learning should be done in the family.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Yes, having my mother teach me accounting so I could begin my career was really helpful!! ::sarcasm:: What an ignorant comment. Tell Rick Perry hi for me.

      You're welcome.

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

      Ignorant moron.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • joeyjoejuniorshabadoo

      sounds like your breeding is done in the family

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      OMG – I surprised you can even turn on a computer!! IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeffrey

    Being a cop shouldn't only have to be about feeding yourself, it should be about keeping others secure and about maintaining order and stability.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Opperdienaar

      being a cop starts with a threat of violence to those who do not seek to purchase your product of security. Taxes that pay their wages are based on a threat of violence. Violence echos badly.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Josh

    Why does God hate VT?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lexi

      Don't troll, sir. This is not the place or time to do such a thing.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NarolBiam

    We should very careful about human rights. It should be safe strictly.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. keith

    I can already see it….people will immediately jump on the bandwagon that it was just a mentally unstable individual, since in most people’s minds those are the only ones that shoot other people. That’s not the case at all. If you read the story, it started as a traffic stop. It’s not as if the guy intentionally walked into a building and started shoot indiscriminately.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj7

      What makes you think he's not mentally unstable? Just because he likely didn't plan it? A mentally unstable person may never even hold a weapon, but be clinically crazy.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj7

      And mentally unstable people drive all the time.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    It's probably an anti-terror drill, people. They portray them as a real event sometimes. Wait till you see videos of the "witnesses".. Their acting is always abysmal. Stop believing everything you hear on the news.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth Horne

      Considering the fact that there are two confirmed dead and others wounded, your post proves you to be a moron. The police officer was a dear friend of my best friend's husband, who is currently in lockdown because he WORKS for VT. So why don't you and the rest of the losers making derogatory comments about the school, students, police or anyone else STFU! These are human lives being lost, and to see people making fun of this situation makes me sick! Grow up!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. idontunderstand

    There is no reason for any student or faculty member (other than campus police) to carry a weapon on campus-or anywhere else for that matter. KIds in college are notorious for doing stupid things and when combined with alchohol, always ends up badly. NO STUDENT should EVER be able to carry a weapon on campus- and if turns out that this person was one of your "campus carry" folks....well- you're program has just ended- and for good reason.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lance

      Yep, only the criminals will have access to guns because, well... they do not follow the law (hence why they are called "criminals").

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

      Thanks for pointing the obvious, a campus should generally be considered a safe place.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NarolBiam

    we should be very careful about human rights.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rick

    You anti-gun nutcases might want to note that, whenever there is a senseless shooting of innocent people like this, it more than often occurs at a place where legal guns are not allowed.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. averagemidweststudent

    I go to school in a pretty bad neighborhood in the midwest. However, carrying guns would not be any form of a solution. Most girls here carry pepper spray, but that is completely beside the point. I think it is ignorant to say "the stresses of finals getting to you?" There are obviously larger issues here, this is incredibly scary, praying for everyone!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rob2tall

    It seems as if we need to fence in our colleges and do weapons searches for all to enter.
    We are a country with more guns than any army on earth-and more citizens own guns in the usa than any other nation
    may these victims rest in peace and my prayers go to the families who lost loved ones

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

      You could move to Russia or China if you need a fence to "feel" safe...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MatarLaRaza

      Maybe we just need LESS "Cops"...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian Desens

    Guns don't kill people; people kill people.

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

      Then maybe people shouldn't have guns.

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

      Q: If you CRIMINALIZE gun ownership, who will most likely own guns?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      But It's harder to kill without a gun.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starman

      Wow! Never heard that before.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • O_*

      That's popular rhetoric for imbeciles. Bazookas don't kill people, either. People kill people. We could keep this going all the way up to nukes. Stop with this idiocy. If the killer had only a knife, the chances they'd have gotten away with this are drastically reduced. Go back to the Faux News comments.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
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