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. William

    Guess the police can't say but it would be helpful if they said they knew who the suspect was. They have the stopped car and license # to help identify him.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      just bc the car is stopped and license plate ran does not mean it's the person registered to it .... possible stolen but they will talk to the owner if they have not already and by the way if you knew anything as a cop you would not have ask a question like that

      December 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Seems like they would say we found the guy wearing the grey sweat pants, with a hat that had a neon green rim and he was also wearing a maroon sweatshirt i.e. the described suspect

      I agree that it seems like they should be able to say more at least that the clothes did or did not match the description

      December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AlexanderNevermind

    Just go to WVU. None of this crap happens there. There are no shootings, beheadings, suicides, etc. Virginia Tech is jinxed.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. George

    So the gunman took his own life after he killed the cop?

    December 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    Holy hell. Two men were shot. And all the vitriolic comments sure show me one sick society. Get a grip folks...Two men were murdered. Let's get the B*stard(s) that did it!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tammy

    May the good Lord send down His angels of peace, love, forgiveness, acceptance, and understanding to ALL those who are involved that the victims loved, and for those who loved the victims. MAY NO TOLERANCE be given and shown to the person who did this.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Peace and love then zero tolerance in the same rant.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    Why do the updates go in reverse? I hate this crap

    December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike bik

    rip brother patrol with our other brothers and sister up there ... may the brothers of the va tech and atf arrest this man and put him away for good

    December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kb

    I went to JMU when the first VA Tech shooting happened, afterwards I started carrying a pistol for self defense. I knew people who were in harm's way and most of them lived. Protect yourself and learn about gun safety, if for no other reason than at some point you may come across a gun in your lifetime. At least you'll know how to unload it and make it safe, then turn it in. Otherwise, you may be put in a no win situation one day, so protecting yourself with a concealed firearm could be a good idea although, that is a step that everyone should decide for themselves and I would never push someone to do it who wasn't ready.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon e

      i hear what you're saying but i'd argue that anyone who needs a pistol for everyday protection is weak. i'm all about having a gun or six at home, in the event anyone is foolish enough to break in to my property. but on the street, i don't walk around the worst parts of town (i live in philly) but i'm not in the greatest part of town either. i never carry because i used to box, and would love to start swinging with some young punk any day. that said, if someone were to approach me with a pistol, i would be in the same situation whether i was carrying or not. as much as people try to think they're a hero behind the computer screen, i'm sure you would agree that once a gun is pulled on you, there's no such thing as pulling yours and hitting them first. anyone who says otherwise has never been robbed at gunpoint (i have unfortunately). i say all of that to say, guns are cool and all, but in everyday on-the-street life they're not necessary. if you cant defend yourself with your fists, feet, teeth or anything else in a spur of the moment fight, then having a pistol on the street will only work if you're clairvoyant enough to know the exact moment when a villian is going to pull out. i respect your point 100% but i hope you see where i'm coming from. pro-gun people kill me (no pun intended) with the whole "armed legitimate citizens help defend such crimes" bullish.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. humberto

    fast and furious, how maliciously stupid can you get.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MDChick

    My prayers are with the students and their families. My coworker has a son at VA Tech and she is a mess right now. I feel so bad for her. What can you say in cases like this??

    December 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      What can you say? That this incident had nothing to do with her kid. Va tech is the size of a small town, larger than many small towns. I know that the news makes us all feel closely connected to every little thing that happens, but the truth is, it's not all about me. It's not all about you. My sister went to va tech, but neither this nor the other shooting had anything to do with her, or me.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TBONE

    How did this happen? They have a zero tolerance policy for guns on campus!

    December 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jon e

    i pray for the victims. i just farted as well and i do apologize to those in my immediate vicinity

    December 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. craig

    Am I the only genius that thinks the shooter just killed someone and planted the gun so Police thinks he committed suicide? How dumb are the police?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      I'm assuming they've determined the shooter did kill himself but those details haven't been released yet. It would be an immense lapse of judgment for the police to give the all clear without verifying the shooter is dead or in custody.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |

      Yes you are the only person that thinks that and you are not a genius, you are a moron. Now go back to Mommy and Daddy's basement LOSER.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • i_know_everything

      @NOTAMORON lol, you grumpy mate?

      December 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Well, Eric Holder is forcing the police departments to lower their exam passing grades to F, so I'll have to say the police are pretty dumb.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmedley

      So let's see, do I believe some anonymous poster with a conspiracy theory who is no where near the crime scene, or do I believe people that are actually there... Gee, that's a tough one...

      December 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gratular

    Nice gun laws Virginia...

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

      No guns are allowed on campus. Nice ignorance on your part.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      You think a gun law would have stopped someone from killing that officer with a gun? Apparently, the guy who shot the officer was, had been, or was or was going to do something criminal. Your thought process of gun control to stop gun violence is amazingly elementary level on the subject. But I will put it in elementary terms for you in reply. Outlaw guns and only outlaws have guns.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      What better place to go on a shooting than a gun free campus. No one shoots back.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ap

    sell more guns for self defence!!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      time you learned how to spell defense.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foreman


      December 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      He's British. They can't spell and they can't keep their guns.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
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