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. Fish

    You have to be kidding me? There's a commercial before this??

    December 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • BostonSteve

      I thought the same thing.....CNN has no shame

      December 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Belle

      I was thinking the same thing!

      December 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stop this!

    Who the heck is this micro guy? Stop commenting sitting in your mom's basement. Respect the victims dimwit.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fox

    I don't understand why any news sites still allow the posting of comments. Most of the people who post comments are disrespectful and ignorant at best and the others who aren't need to find a better way of communicating their thoughts that posting them here. This is for news, it is not the opinions column.

    Yes I do realize I just posted an opinion. Wow, I am grateful I figured that out...Imagine the heyday those all-knowing sociopaths would have had with that.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill in Florida

    "Guns don't kill people ..."

    December 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Guns don't kill people... people use this wonderful and terrible tool for there own end...and there are no gun accidents either, only negligent gun handling.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gadsden

    It's sad that these things happen. Nobdy will argue that. However, to blame the gun itself makes absolutely no sense. The gun that was used in today's tragedy didn't kill anybody, the joker behind the trigger did. In reference to the 2007 massacer, perhaps if somebody in the class had been armed, Cho would never have gotten as far as he did. While sitting in a class room, I would rather have 5 rounds of .38 special Speer Gold Dot in a J-frame than rely on 3 inches of hollow oak in conjunction with a prayer protecting me.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused

      Yes, "guns don't kill people" and neither does anthrax nor atomic bombs! But that doesn't mean that it would be a good idea to let everyone have have any of those things does it? DUH!

      December 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. coleda

    this is just one more reason that ALL WHITE people need to start arming themselves.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Obviously, you are joking.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • GMUqt2001

      Why would you say ALL WHITE people? Go kick rocks! You sound soo ignorant.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • GiftofGab

      You do realize the shooter was described as being white, right?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Does this mean all people who are white, or just people who are all-white? Gotta know when I need to get my gun. Lame.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. david

    Is the gunner down yet

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

    And I guess your school didn't teach you the ins and outs of the caps lock key.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Turn it off!

    Turn your Caps Lock off you numb-nuts! And go back to milking cows.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    you don't know Jack, Jack. I love this "the policeman had a gun and it didn't help him" crap. As mentioned earlier, if you extend that argument then its a perfect reason for disarming the police also. Its like saying a life jacket didn't keep someone from drowning therefore why bother wearing a life jacket. Your bulb is a little dim there Jackie Boy.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eron

      Action is always faster than reaction.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. david

    Is the shooter down

    December 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    Front page news on the BBC, but barley noticeable on CNN. What's taking the spot light? Oh, the new Apple Store in NY. All hail Steve Jobs. If only he were here, he could save us from all the violence.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. peter

    Cucinelli is a PIG! and he wants to run for Governor, he better run for cover!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eric

    This 2nd amendment thing is getting so old.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lou50

    The school has no choice but to keep the campus locked down till the shooter is captured and verified he was a sole participant. The Feds fining the school for mistakenly thinking the start of the last big shooting was an isolated domestic issue is the hand writing on the wall. Start making up bills to send to parents for the extended stay plus costs for the delay in the next session. No reason for the school to assume these costs.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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