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. Ryan

    What the hell is in the water over there at Virginia Tech? And more importantly, can it be weaponized? (like that crazy hallucinogenic water from Uncharted 3)

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

    This is of course, George W Bush's fault.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. VinoBianco

    stay safe fellow hokies

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

    This, Sirs and Madams, is why we need gun control. Guns are easily available to morons like these.

    Also, don't try to pull the whole "if everyone has a gun, people with guns will stop morons like these". why is there no "person with gun" helping the police out?

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

      I do not know a single gun owner who believe "all people should have guns". Anyone with a lick of common sense realizes that only a several people out of 100 have the mental strength, common sense, and emotional disposition to be a responsible gun owner.

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

      Probably has to do with the fact that people with guns aren't allowed on campuses? Also has to do with the fact that an individual citizen has a gun as a defensive weapon, and that having a permit to carry a weapon does not give you the right to perform manhunts or go looking for criminals.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • dewed

      Prisons have great gun control...and they're so safe, right?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    I hope it wasn't another Eric Holder Fast and Furious gun.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The NRA

    Thank God for the Second Amendment! If we didn't have the right to bare arms we couldn't have shot this man to prevent these 2 deaths. ...wait...

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

      Haha clever choice of wording " Bare Arms "

      I believe CW Holders are a rarity..

      December 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    Right, so therefore, all students are bad and Obama hates America, right? All you need is "common sense" from the good working people and a GOP president and all this gun crime goes away. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee

    Then you are either a racist or ignorant.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ObamaJoe

    When will a good guy shoot a bad guy ? Dam,,,,It seems only happened in Pakistan once . God bless America.

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

      Only it didn't really happen in Pakistan.

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

      Where else ?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Charles Krauthammer


    December 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CH

    Apparently the shooter was not aware that the school is a gun-free zone—which essentially means only the law-abiding citizens/students were gun-free and without the means to defend themselves. How many more of these will happen before we wake up and realize that mere laws do not stop people from hurting other people. Lawfully armed citizens equipped, willing and able to stop people from hurting other people are far more effective.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. steve

    I will cross this school off my child's list of colleges to attend. What has happened to America? We are our own worst enemy. We kill approx 26,000 Americans every year, compared to Terrorists who killed 5,000 in the past decade.

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

      Makes you think we aren't that far from mexico.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      Steve, be sure to cross off UVA and Penn State as well.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nick-o

    F U

    December 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. edson

    Luis i gunna give you props man that is thru

    December 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. adfadfa

    Go back to /b/ roodypoo

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