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. Tom A.

    not nearly as good as a silent troll. I think we could all use more of those. Just go away...

    December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jay

    Obviously the shooter was not aware of VT being a "gun free zone". iI'm sure it would have made a difference. Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead without mine. My heart goes out to the victims.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Good point. If the police officer had thought to carry a gun he'd still be alive, right?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camden

      Thank you for commenting that! People don't realize that these "free fire zones" kill because our concealed carry permit holders can't have their guns!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • dale

      Chances are much better that you'll be found dead with it. People who brag about carrying a firearm are usually idiots who end up shooting themselves. People who know better, quietly carry and hope to never use it.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I'll say again, the officer had a gun and he is now dead. We are a nation of 300 million. Do you really believe believe America will be safer and a better place if 100 million had guns strapped on?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      @Steve: So, we can agree that police presence alone is not enough to keep our campuses safe? Maybe we should try allowing the students to protect themselves.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Virginia Tech grad student Mom

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the police officer and the families of any injured and deceased others. God have mercy.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kelly

    THIS doesnt warrent main story status???? WTH!!! CNN morons!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Sk

      why did CNN bury this story is a mystery. why have school shootings now become common place.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dale

      a moron could also be someone who whines but continues to read cnn.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      And just what you call a main story subject??????? What an idiot!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Actually Dale....a moron could also be construed as someone who did NOT read the story and just likes to antagonize other people's posts. I think your mom is calling you.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Slimberg Jackson

    December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EarthBrother

    America: greed, corruption, violence, lawlessness. I still wouldn't live anywhere else. There are no safe neighborhoods anymore. This can happen anywhere. At first I used to think that certain places posed danger like bars and house parties in bad areas. Now you can be at school trying to do right and get shot. What a tragedy.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You can have these same issues all over Europe.. America with all its laws is really no more protected.. Violence is part of human nature unfortunately.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Well said my Brotha.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A. Lincoln

    It has absolutely nothing to do with guns, it has to do with the type people we have more and more of in this country who are just plain fed up. Why don't all you anti gun whiners get baseball bats outlawed too since people kill people with them as well, or knives. Or, better yet, why not make alcohol illegal since people are killed on our roads every day by drunk drivers who have imbibed the TRUE gateway drug. Let's just say that if I want to kill somebody bad enough, I don't need a gun to do it....a way will be found and if guns are made illegal to own then what will be next. Baseball bats, cars, bathtubs, rope, knives.....

    December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Its a heck of lot easier to pull a trigger in the heat of passion than club someone. Guns make it easier to kill. And Virginia lets people carry them around in their cars, in their belts, in restaurants, in bars. Its stupid. You really need to step back and consider the logic of what your saying. The "guns don't kill people" mentality is just plain wrong.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Eric

    What's wrong with you people?! Everyone spewing hate at each other. I hope that they catch the murderer, and my condolences go to the family of the fallen Police officer and bystander killed.

    Seriously, you people need help.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shawn

    You're a dick. Hope when someone robs your home or holds you at gun point that NO police come to help you, seeing you hate them so much.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ashley

    This is sooo sad!! Why are people so crazy these days? I mean is there going to have to be a mental screening every so often for anyone in college or what! Its getting ridiculous when you cant even go to school!! Prayers for the victims and VA TECH <3

    December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      There is no indication that the perp was a college student. It was a routine traffic stop that happened to occur on campus. Please don't assume this is a student.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. s. timmons

    The suspect was reportedly a white male, wearing "gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack."

    December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dale

    Does your mom know you're using the computer, dweeb?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lydia

    Somebody please track where this psychopath lives. Nobody wants to date you because you are CRAZY.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ninja Food

    Ban College ...."Liberal Arts".... Too many liberals.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • goobes

      no, just too many dumb people in college. Personally i think college is downright too expensive, but at this time, there are so many people who shouldn't be in college, whether they are too stupid or too poor, it sucks that the only way to get a job is with a college diploma, but thats life, and life sucks. But it doesn't make it any easier for people when jobs are flooded with poor applicants.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ja

    no civil resolutions with people nowadays from capital hiil to college campuses, the gop has set a sad tone across the land it resonates

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
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