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. Virginia Tech Alum (Molly Schultz)

    Virginia Tech is a wonderful school! These tragedies could happen anywhere in this country. Yes it is terrible that it has happened again, but that does not mean the Virginia Tech is unsafe. I work at a campus in Wisconsin and this could easily happen here too. We have the right to carry guns in Wisconsin, but they are not "allowed" on campus. If you have a gun and want to use it, are you going to obey a sign that says no guns allowed on campus? I don't think so. Please remember people have been killed and their families deserve our prayers.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      It's a wonderful school if you enjoy the excitement of bullets whizzing past your head. No thanks, my children attend a college where they're not being shot at.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • White Lotus

      These tragedies at Va Tech do not happen anywhere. In addition to the dozens slaughtered in 2007 a student had her head cut off in the school cafeteria in 2009. Now a police officer is shot in 2011. These are spectacular crimes that don't happen every day, let alone on a school campus. Something is up with Va Tech, I just don't know what it is.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Tragedies like this CAN happen anywhere, but it's also true that they've been happening at VA Tech a little too often, so I agree with White Lotus too that something might be daunting in that area.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joseph L. Kibbe Sr.

    Better parenting or else should be a law. Actually, a parent license should be mandatory for one who wishes to raise a child. Psychiatric test and criminal backgrounds should be given to the "want to be" parent. All girls who reaches puberty, should mandatorily be vaccinated from reproducing until proper age requirement for parent license. If a person violates the parent license law, the fetus should be aborted and if the person delivers the offspring before the law can be enforced, the offspring would be placed for adoption and the mother placed in prison. No exceptions.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      What a chauvinist you are! What about the boys? They are the promiscious ones!

      December 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      You would have fit right in with Hitler and the likes. I haven't read something this stupid in years.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheva

      You are certainly talking about putting lots of people to work – enforcing reproductive and parenting policing and penalties for the whole population. Is that because you are blaming the parents of the shooter for what happened today? Sadly there are many very good parents who do all the right things and there will still be a percentage of children who turn out bad. There just aren't any simple fixes or any accurate way to predict who will turn out good and who won't.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      If someone like you becomes President of the U.S. I'm moving to a different country. Please don't leave your home & may God have mercy on your soul.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. michelle

    you people should be careful were u send your kids to school it is not safe anymore

    December 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      First of all we don't know if this was even a student. 2nd violent crime can happen any where at anytime not just at school 3rd: Everyone is at risk(extremely low) of dying on any given day.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. michelle

    why should people send there kids to school its not safe

    December 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsTheirnotTHERE

      I hope this was a troll comment bc this is exactly why you need schooling. SPELLING AND GRAMMAR COUNTS.

      I've told HR NOT to hire countless people because they have no command of how to spell or use grammar. EoE be damned

      December 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • portnoychunk

      ...beat me to it....

      December 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • iwc

      By the way, that would be "spelling and grammar count"...

      December 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    How after all the school shootings since Columbine is this still happening?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      I don't remember anything stating this was a student. It happened on a campus not in a classroom.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Burbank

    What is it with this school? Is it in a violent neighborhood?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. White Lotus

    Can you imagine if you were admitted in Virginia Tech in fall of 2007 and stayed for 4 years? In that time you would have witnessed the slaying of 30+ people in 2007, a student getting her head cut off in 2009 in the school cafeteria, and the murder of a police officer and another person in 2011.

    I must agree with another poster, what is with Virginia Tech? This does not happen in other places. People don't get slaughtered 30 at a time and they don't get their heads cut off regularly, and police, for all the risk they are in, make the front page news when they get killed. These are spectacular crimes and they only happen at Virginia Tech.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Those crazy Asians.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Wrong. the shootings occurred in spring of 2007. So the incoming class would have come in fall of 2006 and graduated in 2010. Even those coming in fall of 2007 would have graduated in the spring of 2011. Massacre aside violent deaths occur throughout the US on college campuses. The only reason you read this story here was because of the 2007 massacre. Again this might not even be a student but a local nut who happened to come on school grounds.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      BTW I hope your day job requires no analytical skills because you certainly appear to have none.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tess139

    I hope NH law makers are watching ... they are trying to pass a bill allowing guns on campus ... to be stored where? No secure lockers in dorm rooms????? the dumbing down and aggressing up of our society is puzzling

    December 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      Are you saying that it would better for those lawmakers to ensure that their schools remain as similar to the school where this happened as possible? I would think it would be desirable to figure out what they are doing wrong, and do something different.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chillipepper

    I bet it will be found it was a VT liberal professor that killed the Cop and then himself. Probably because the police wouldn't let him park illegally in a earlier incident days before.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tiger2

    OK NRA and all you gun enthusiasts (that includes me), how are you going to justify this one? I know, guns don't kill people, people kill people right? I'm no fan of gun control, but you nut jobs need to get a grip and find a better excuse.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • iwc

      You already said it. Guns don't kill people, crazy people do.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. james

    The cop probably pulled him over for a bs reason. Dude snapped and shot that ass up. oink, oink.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Maybe you should learn to read so you don't look like such a moron. The article clearly states this guy was not involved in the traffic stop.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. james

    Maybe cops should stop abusing their power and this wouldn't happen. oink, oink.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BH

    Gun control is not needed. This is further proof. So glad we have the NRA protecting our freedoms from our ability to shoot each other, I mean, protect us against terrorists.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dwight

    it is amazing the amount of shooting on gun regulated campuses and facilities. the fact remains that had there been citizens around these areas when crimes such as these happen. the guy would be dead much faster, less people would die and guess what. when someone has an idea to go out into public and start a murder spree, that hey wont get far.

    to bad Americans have been brainwashed to believe not having guns makes us safer

    December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • dwight

      armed citizens

      December 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdurand

      Dwight, presumably the officer had a gun. It didn't help him in this situation, so before you start in with your anti-gun control crap, let that sink in.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ontheotherfoot

      On the other hand, if there weren't a bunch of wackos running around with guns, maybe they wouldn't be killing innocent people. Look, Our country is armed to the teeth and we have the among the highest gun crime rates in the world. If you can, do the math.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    And you white folks got the nerves to call black people thugs, when knowing well yall the damn thugs and gangs that the news never talk about. Damn Thugs!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      And que the racists.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burns

      Thug is a thug, Larry. Stop being racist.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      Ummmmmm,angry Larry?

      December 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burns


      December 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • atroy

      Black people aren't thugs; they're just ignorant.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      No one's saying black people are all thugs Larry. I have lots of black friends & they're dear to me, but look at the statistics of crime among African Americans & the numbers speak for themselves.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
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