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. T

    Will this guy get caught if he hasn't been caught up until this hour?

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

      Where does it say the suspect is a student numb nuts.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • phred

      @Bill, kettle, meet pot. You seem to be the idiot who responded to the wrong comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. uzishoes


    December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. J

    Why do all these thugs and criminals go to Virginia Tech? Most colleges don't have one shooting rampage in their history and now this school will have 6 straight classes (5 incoming freshman classes and the senior class in 2007) that can say their school was a victim of violent crime. Higher education? What a joke...

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

      Who says its a student?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Where does it say the suspect is a student numb nuts?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • HokieLove

      Actually, we have very, very few thugs and criminals compared to other schools. This is what makes an event like this news- because it happened in the peaceful, quiet Blacksburg community. People are shot fairly often at schools like Old Dominion for example, in a rougher area of Virginia, we just don't hear about it because it's not uncommon there.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • abw

      "all of these criminals" ?? seriously? you mean all TWO of them? granted, it's shocking in the place and the time span, but lets not get carried away here.

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

      It's not necessarily a student. It started after a routine traffic stop on campus. Please, stop posting the inflammatory desensitizing remarks. You're not funny. You're not bold. You're just a nuisance taking shots at an already down community. You should be ashamed of yourselves and your childish words.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      We do you make a blanket assumption that all students at VT are criminals and thugs? I have had 2 students, both prior and current, go to VT. Neither of them have a criminal record! There is also absolutely no indication – yet – that the suspect is even a student. Might want to wait until all the facts are in......

      December 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Summer

      It's not the universities fault. Blame the person, not the school. But don't lose sight of what we should be concerned with and that's catching a killer. Lives were lost. Doesn't that mean anything anymore?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Me

    Well, the first shooting was a terrible tragedy.

    As for the second, it makes me ask: What kind of students are enrolled at this university? Are they crazy?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      To my knowledge, there is only one University in the US that allows students to carry firearms provided they have a permit. I can not remember the name of it. Probably because there have not been any mass shootings at that one.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barney

      Their all tragedies, #1. #2, this has nothing to do with VT or its students. This type of thing happens all the time all over the place. Turn on the news. It's commonplace nowadays and the world we live in. It sucks. I'm guessing this person isn't a student.

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

      the best students. don't blame the university, blame the nut jobs.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      It's the college for the trailer park elite.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • abw

      there is no evidence that this is a student. don't make assumptions. And this is a huge school. Even if there were two psychopaths who went there in a surprisingly short amount of time, that is hardly reason to condemn the entire student population.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      To Me......., that absolutely astounds me that you ask that question. This happens to be a tragic event as well. Go crawl back under your rock.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • HokieParent

      As unfortunate as this incident is, Virginia Tech is an OUTSTANDING school. Unfortunately, it is not surrounded by a fence, so anyone can drive onto the campus. Crazy? heck no. Maybe if the students and faculty were not disarmed by university policies, they could shoot back with more than their cell-phone cameras - remember that violent crime in Virginia has dropped dramaticaly since the state legalized open-carry. Do you think that further disarming of the populace is the answer? Take a look at the crime problems in the UK and Australia - gun-free zones are a criminal's paradise.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jason

    This school looks really f'ed up why would anyone go here?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    In what universe would you think that would be funny?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. native virginian

    i am 45 minutes from va tech and this is *not*, i repeat *not* an anti terrorism drill bill. all schools in the counties surrounding va tech are on complete lockdown. this is for real. 2 innocent people are dead.

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

    tim tebow

    December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron G

      Very funny.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    come on man .lol

    December 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Luis

    This is the perfect excuse to keep taking away our freedom/rights.... Now when i read news like this, i cant help but think that its just another false flag... How many already? 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,1000? When are people going to stop believing in everything MAINSTREAM MEDIA says? I feel sorry for our race (human race)

    December 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      Yeah! Typical liberal media just making up the incidents and deaths so they can take our guns away. Where's Obama's birth certificate!?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IndyJim

    Prayers go out to the families involved and to the students at VTech. College is supposed to be the best time of your life, and senseless violence like this does not make sense. My guess is this person was not a student, but will wait to find out. Looks like he is willing to kill as many people as it takes to not be taken into custody.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      It makes perfect sense to me. If I was a crimminal, I would want to operate in an area I know has the least amount of people with firearms.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathan Cline

      Lee: ..... Virginia??

      December 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Al

      To Indy Jim – from what I heard, he shot the police officer during a traffic stop, then shot the second person after fleeing on foot, in what was likely a random encounter.

      I would suggest toning down the speculation that he went to campus today intent on a mass killing spree. It's just as possible that he has some sort of record, perhaps an outstanding warrant, perhaps illegal contaband in his car, or a number of other things, and freaked out & shot the cop when he was pulled over.

      Either way, you are extremely early with your speculation. You might as well have said that he is a member of the U-M football team, and is worried about the Sugar Bowl matchup, so is on campus looking to execute Hokie football players.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      It's a gun free zone. That's why there are no nut jobs shooting up gun shows.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      The last Virginia Student was the shooter, why couldn't this one be the shooter also.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kristen

    except in this century and culture killing isnt necessary to survive and reproduce...

    December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chomama

    ....again? really?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cj

    This incident kinda blows the whole carrying concealed gun idea out the door. People are so naive (watched too many westerns) to think they will out duel a shooter who has already trained a gun on you before you can even move. It's too easy for people to get guns, period. The background checks are a joke. Selling guns is about making money. Yes, criminals can always get guns, but the harder you make it for guns to be obtained, the less people will be oble to get them. And it's not just so-called criminals that use them. How many times after some nutball goes on a shooting spree do you here," He was such a nice person, I never thought he would do something like that."

    December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Yes that is always something I have thought of. If there are multiple people on a work or college campus carrying and a shooting goes down it would be tough to tell who the shooter is. Think about it, if you round the corner with your gun drawn and encounter another vigilante with his gun drawn how would you know they aren't the shooter? Would you wait to find out? Best to have armed security.

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

      Good point. If someone has a gun trained on you, you are pretty well at their mercy. The reason i carry one is so I have a fighting chance in some situations. I dont have to watch other people being shot as I wait my turn to be a victim.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Then I suppose the police shouldn't have weapons either, as this goes to show that if someone has a gun pointed at an officer, they will never have a chance either...

      Am I disagreeing with you that if someone has a gun pointed at you, and your weapon is holstered, you're screwed? Not at all. However, saying that you shouldn't be allowed to have a weapon because you might be ambushed and it would do you no good isn't a very sound argument. I may very well be ambushed, but if I survive the initial bit, I sure want a way to fight back.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Gotta agree with Jack. It's not difficult to imagine a trigger happy conceal carry zealot lighting up a passerby who was only trying to tuck in his pants...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mookie

      All a gun ban will do is make it harder for law abiding citizens to obtain guns and licenses. The thugs and gang bangers already have black market weapons they buy of underground dealers. Do you really think those underground dealers abide by an kind of law in obtaining guns?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Making it more difficult for criminals to access guns will only do just that – make it more difficult. Whenever this happens, it turns into a black market type trade and crime itself increases because of that.. Just like the war on drugs. The biggest argument now is that less strict laws would mean they are more regulated and less black market selling, which is a major cause of crime. Same thing happened with prohibition. Same thing would happen with guns. The criminals would still get them, but only be creating more dangerous situations in the process. Police would attempt to crack down even more on illegal gun trade, exposing them to even further danger. When you try and control something so much, that control itself just causes more crime.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • dewed

      CJ: My sister died in a car wreck...despite wearing a seat belt. I guess that blows the whole "wear your seat belt" thing right out of the water.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Topshot

      Background checks are not a joke in TX, they are pretty strict. The BG chack for CHL is very in-depth and even pulls medical records. A CHL would not have helped in this situation unless a CC was close enough to defend the officer after the shooting. But for some nut job running around shooting as they did in 2007....he would have been stopped had someone been carrying. As a CHL holder, I take it very serious and have had 20 hours of additional training that most law enforcement doesn't require of it's own officers. Some of us are better trained on the trigger and could save lives in a bad situation. Gun sales are up, CHL applications are way up and defensive handgun courses are packed. Americans are sick and tired of crime and we should be. The courts are a joke, police are thin and prisons are over crowded. I would rather kill a suspect than send him to jail, stop the gene pool there.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Its not that I don't respect the right to bear arms its just that if i am going to be in a large work or college environment I am not going to trust that my co workers or fellow students will handle themselves correctly in a high stress situation that involves a hostile gunman or gunmen. Correctly staff the area with armed security if needed.

      If people are allowed to carry at work or at school I should know who carries and that they are well trained in tactics to deal with a public threat.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jack

    Yeah and its the exact same place that we all comment on.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
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