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. jdurand

    I really hate how CNN puts commericials before videos dealing with crap like this

    December 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Not sure they have a choice, honestly. Just the way the site is programmed.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jack

    If they only had a law banning guns on campus, these shootings would stop. And while they're at it, make it illegal to behead people.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackkj

      you are an idiot...ban guns and the people doing these acts will still be least if law abiding citizens can carry someone could stop a guy like this.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • app3time

      NC has a law prohibiting guns from public education facilities. I think it is a hundred feet around any public university and school

      December 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burns

      Last time I read about someone stopping a shooting, they tackled the guy. If someone walks into class and starts shooting, you might be able to shoot back, but by then they've already killed 1 or more people. Most of these killing spree types are mentally unstable, society could benefit from stricter gun control laws.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      The reason 32 people were shot last time was nobody had a gun to stop the one kook who DID have a gun. So, if it WASN'T a Gun Free Zone perhaps he may have only killed 1/2 that amount, or even less as a legally licensed citizen could have ended it. Isn't it odd we never hear of this in Arizona or Texas? Its because the perp would have been ventilated fast and a minimum of death due to CCL being available. Gun laws do not work, they keep honest people honest. And vulnerable as the criminal element isn't sweating 3 hots and a cot.

      Que anti gun nuts

      December 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burns

      Charles Whitman?

      December 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rbnlegnd

      The irony, jack, that you missed, is that there is such a law, and it doesn't seem to have helped much.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. VT Alum

    What is wrong with you people. Two people have DIED, thousands of students were scared for their lives, even more parents were worried for their children's safety, and all you can find to talk about is gun control? This is a time for mourning and prayers and you bring politics and laws into this? You people make me sick. I hope you rot in hell.

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

      You'd think that if the parents were really worried, they would not have allowed their children to attend the college after a 2007 mass shooting and a 2009 beheading. But then again, maybe they're really not that worried for their children.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burns

      It's natural to think about how they can avoid a repeat. Praying won't help, and mourning won't either. 2 people are dead, and you want those trying ot be constructive, to "rot in hell." You make me sick.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • VT Alum

      Yes because my mother and father did not worry about me when I was up there. There is definitely a special place for you in hell.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      @jack – up until 2007 for which I can find data 24.7 homicides/year(i removed the 37 killed at VT in 2007) occur on college campuses nationwide. So for all you morons that say this only happens at VT, learn to use Google to gather info before you spout off.

      I sure hope you don't need analytical skills in your day job because you appear to have very little.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poolchick

      I can't help but reply to your comment. You are asking some of these posters what is wrong with them. Yes, people are grieving and I feel for them but why would you try to make commenters understand this with ending your comment with" hope you people rot in hell" ? For someone that prays, you really are a hyprocrite.

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

      @Bill – I know if I send little Jack to VT, his chances of being beheaded or shot are greater than at other universities. No thanks, I'll leave that to the other parents who probably take out million dollar life insurance policies on the the little loved ones prior to shipping them off to VT.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      @ VT Alum: You should maybe get some help because you sound like you're way too angry. Yes, mourning & praying are good things to help oneself move past a terrible tragedy, but plans on how to avoid something like this happening again need to be addressed as well & not delayed for too long.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sensed

    Should be a way now for people who want to kill themselves to do it legally and leave everyone else out of it.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The R.O.T.P.

    he (dead cop) says he can't fire up any longer and wonders why he had to die, stuff from the other side, the dead side.....

    December 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hmmmm

    There is no evidence this is even school related.

    Sounds more like the cop was either specifically targeted or a nut went off at that time randomly.

    In either case, banning guns or allowing guns would not have made a lick of difference. People die everyday.

    Hecl, we had a shooting on 495 and in DC today. It happens...

    December 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Burns

    Guys, what's with all the hate? I can't beliueve something like this happened... again. What's wrong with your country I mean Now this is a story, all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down,And I'd like to take a minute,So just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-AirIn West Philadelphia, born and raised,
    On the playground is where Ii spent most of my days Chillin out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school When a couple of guys, who were up to no good, Started makin' trouble in my neighborhood,
    I got in one little fight and my mom got scared She said 'You're movin with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air!'

    December 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. reality check

    I just widthdrew my kid's acceptance to VA Tech. Bad karma. MIT is a bit pricey but worth it.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Unfortunately there is no guarantee that it won't happen there.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sam

    Thoughts and prayers going out to Virginia Tech.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. b

    ban cars

    December 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    What's in the water over there ?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chen

    Please don't let it be another Asian, please don't let it be another Asian, please don't let it be another Asian......

    December 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    This situation is as horrendous, as the last time it happened. Yes a gunman was identified and apprehended.
    But wait, were allowances made for guns, since the last time this happened? No. Instead a cop takes a bullet and dies. He paid the ultimate price for an idiot on the loose.
    What is it that Virginia Tech has, that attracts these type of people anyways.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. felix

    I hate to say, AFTER the fact, but students should be allowed to apply for carry permits and allowed to protect themselves. Instead, they are kept like sheep, and are victims in the waiting. I carry my firearm everywhere legal to do so, and it doesn't make me a criminal, just a safer citizen. Until they figure a way for me to carry a cop in my pocket, my glock will do just fine. God rest the souls of those to lost their lives, and punish those who took them as their own...

    December 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Then of course there's the lockdown, where the killer has a complete selection of targets of innocent unarmed students to choose from.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
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