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. Common Sense

    Love all the comments about party politics. Just goes to show the maturity level of the people commenting.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wow

    It disgusts me to see comments like these on every single story that comes out about someone being killed. Have some respect for their families, quit bringing politics into your comments, and get a life. Absolutely disrespectful.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      This is a comment board not a Hallmark card. Free speech…(with in CNNs terms of service) learn it. Or feel free to move to Iran.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      4 sean : your Hallmark card reads "Sorry that you're self-absorbed brain-dead cyberdrone". I feel better.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pete/Ark

    I won't wade through 20+pages of comments,but I figure some fools screamed"outlaw all guns",some fool yelled "make everyone carry a gun",some jerk opined"it's just someone postponing finals",and after that the childish started calling each other rude names before some guy in London blamed it all on Israel. My comment is simple: this is a sad day... let's hope he is caught quickly.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • KARL

      Thank you. ...and you are right. It's a sad day for the victims. their family, and the VT family.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. snowflake

    For anyone who believes just having a gun is to blame... how many people in the US own guns and don't gun down police officers when stopped? or just in general don't pull a gun on someone? There was obviously a reason why they did what they did... obviously not JUSTIFIED by any means though. Everyone affected by this is in my thoughts and prayers.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |


    December 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      Those who have morals, love, peace and caring in their hearts cares, that's who.....

      December 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      oops, forgot those with compassion as well cares!

      December 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matheus

    he probably ran away on 460 then got away on 81!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. twirtzy

    Well, why didn't you just say from the beginning that you struggle with reality because of a desire not to be included in reality?

    December 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JD

    well, another gun free zone proved wrong. . . again. Now we have more folks to mourn. . . when will we learn gun free zones don't work?

    December 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Benjamin

    The Collegiate Times twitter feed is reporting that the second person dead is the shooter. They are still awaiting confirmation. The lockdown has been officially lifted.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott S.

      That would make sense because apparently there was a weapon found next to the second victim. That happens to be the latest update I see on this article.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jordan

    The lockdown has ended 🙂

    December 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tyler Williams

    I was that young mans brother.....this isn't funny what so an only child now

    December 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Noc

    anyone want to take bets on the shooter's race?

    December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      Most of the students are Asian, so I'm going to go with Asian. My final answer.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      um it's reported that he is white

      December 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iron Mike

      White, in case you aren't able to read. Witnesses saw a white male shoot the police officer. There goes your racial superiority rant, NOC

      December 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pastor Kelli

      Huskies from Northern Illinois University (NIU–DeKalb, IL) are sending our prayers of solidarity, strength, and healing. Peace be you.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What if both these were 2 seperate incidents?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jack

    Please don't let it be another officer killed by a Eric Holder Fast and Furious gun.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • gratular

      Eric Holder didnt know about Fast & Furious. Nor did anyone between him and the SAIIC Newell of Phoenix, AZ ATF.. Even Newells supervisor didnt know about "gun walking" so please educate yourself before you spout right wing propaganda that is false.. The facts are contrary to your beliefs..

      December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    Of course another shooting in Virginia what else is new, who would want to go to that school anyway. Its very sad for those that died there, truly unfortunate. They should banned gun for the public for a 300 mile radius around virginia tech and have checkpoints with police to search all the cars entering campus. Also put snipers on top of virginia tech buildings to protect students thats the online way i will send my kids there. Gun lovers stay away from virginia tech, get a room with your gun and watch the republican debate and dream about Sarah Palin, backwarrds people

    December 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jayne

      I would like to see guns banned period. There are other ways to defend yourself and your home. Guns are nothing more than something to make redneck feel big and bad.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • kb

      Ban guns 300 miles from campus and put snipers on the roof? You're an idiot.

      You know if this had happened at JMU today since there was a campus carry protest, there'd be about 100 law abiding and armed citizens spread about the campus to help. You may think that guns are bad, but it's just a tool, like you.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Ban Asian students because the 2007 shooting was done by an Asian? How stupid! This time a White student did the killing. Are you going to ban all the White students too? And VT can only admit Black and Hispanic students based on smart Jack's suggestion. That's until one student from these two racial groups commits a serious group. Eventually,. everyone will be banned.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      The above comment was in reply to Jack's comment to ban Asians from VT, which has been removed by CNN.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      John, I don't think your kids could get into Tech if they speak like you. "The online way me kids would go there" This had nothing to do with gunlovers and you need to get a better grasp on the language. Your sentences make no sense.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Man

      Yeah, okay, lets live in a police state. Not. How'd that work out for the Jews in Germany? Not too well (God rest their souls).

      Sorry, but in this instance the police, your supposed protectors, were KILLED. If they can't save you, then who can? Here's a hint: Yourself! Man up, get a carry permit and stop living in fear.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Moronic statement from a moronic mindset. You say it as though it is expected to happen in Virginia. Yeah, us Viginia backwoods rednecks and our inbred gun carrying hillbilly cousins...You idiot..

      And ban guns? Great idea. That way, you take self-defense and protection away from the law abiding citizens and only the outlaws have guns. Examples of government gun control against its population results in government led atrocities like the ones in Comminst Russia and Nazi Germany. Take a look at the how the crime rate skyrocketed in Austrailia after government imposed gun control.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DontForgetHistory

      It is amazing how many idiots have the perspective of banning guns but forget about why we have the right to bear arms. We have this right because foreign powers may step on our land in an attempt to dismantle our way of life – aka 9/11 as an example. We have this right because our government may try to control us to the point where we lose our way of life – a theme very prominent in the direction our government is headed. If you don't like guns, don't buy them. At the same time, when someone commits a crime with one, take a stand for a very public statement called the death penalty. Even though I am a proponent of the right to bear arms, I am also a proponent to say idiots like we saw today should not be part of my society, whether that means the death penalty or walking them to our beach and telling them to swim for their next continent of interest. Similarly, make sure you salute and stand proud of the men and women in our military to let them know you approve them to have the guns to protect your right to be a pansy.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmedley

      I am just curious as to why people think bans actually do anything? Drugs are banned, but you can get any drug you want anytime. Handguns are banned in Chicago and there are handguns all over the place. It is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving without a headset in CA and you see people with cell phones on their ears while driving all the time.

      I don't care which side of the debate you are on since it doesn't matter if they did ban guns because guess what, IT WON'T ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. The genie has been out of the bottle for 250 years and there is no putting it back in. There is NO practical way to enforce a gun ban so give it up. It won't happen.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kat

    Sad situation. Enough said.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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