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. Jenna

    One day someone is going to get killed "sending photos and videos" for CNN.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rallygirl

    And you think Penn State's reputation is in peril!!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Please be respectful to us Hokies today. Comments like these are uncalled for. You should be ashamed.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rallygirl


      December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chris

    I'm sure the officeer who was shot was carrying ... lot of good I did him.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      He was also wearing body armor and that clearly did not help. We should save money and never buy another cop body armor again.


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

    But that's impossible! Tech is a "gun free zone." What criminal would disregard that?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • oneshot

      Well said!

      December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You know, now's not the time for you or anyone to trumpet their political agenda.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      By Jove, you're right! It's a gun free zone, could someone have a gun there? It's a good thing that the law-abiding students and faculty can't carry. Whew. Gun free zones do make us all so much safer.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Squirrel

      When faculty, employees, students, citizens (people) are armed (firearms, knives, stun guns, clubs,..), risk is dramatically reduced. Do not count on law enforcement, security, or anyone else to protect you. From experience, gun free zones provide no safety or security. People need weapons, ability, and rights to protect themselves. When your life is on the line, best tool is weapon in hand.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Yep. A few more people pulling out hardware and slinging lead would make the area much safer. And when the Police arrive, they will, of course, instinctively be able to tell who the "good guys" are.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      From what I've read, this shooting went down so fast, the best armed militia in the world couldn't have stopped the killing. And could you picture some 20,000 armed 18 year olds stalking the campus looking for the Perpetrator. No, there's a place for firearms to be used for self defense., but not in a posse.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The policeman had a gun. It didn't do him any good, did it?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Hey Tom, how about no guns allowed on the streets period? Maybe then our gun death rates would drop in line as those of civilized countries. Oh, that's right, cowards need to protect themselves from something that will never happen to them.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Check out countries that have tough gun laws and compare the gun violence with the U.S. I bet you that countries that have tough gun laws also have a much lower murder rate, not that any murder rate is good other than zero.

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

      It's actually the perfect time.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uruk-Hai

      Chicago is the prime example of a place that outlaws guns. How are they doing?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guns4all

      They have a high rate of violent crime, you see its better when everyone is armed because then those who are crazy enough to do these things (who would find some way to do them gun laws or not) will atleast be stopped much sooner and have a greater risk to take if they knew everyone was armed

      December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • McNeil

      really? you're going to throw politics into this? You know what the states with the highest crime rates have in common, right?

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

      I live in Chicago, and the ban is successful if you want only the gangs to be armed.

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

      Thank you Mike. Shame on both of you clowns.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Light

      It's not 'political agenda' Mike, it's life and death. This is exactly the time to make this comment, which is of complete respect to those that have been affected by this tragedy.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • mvsd

      I agree with Mike

      December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viking

      No disrespect was intended. The right to self defense is not a political matter. It is a matter of personal liberty and freedom that students at Virginia Tech and many other universities are denied. Policies like "gun free zones" cause much more harm than good.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bluebandit77


    December 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ethan

    Can we please stop comparing university reputations and focus on the fact that this possibility that people are being shot. Seriously what is wrong with you people.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uruk-Hai

      What makes this different than any other day? This kind of crap happens for a reason.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Amen Ethan.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hokie girl

      thank you!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLE

      Thank you.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marty rogers

    what are they feeding their students? many incidents in that school!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      Who said it was a student?

      December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      As an alum of VT and someone who was there for the Virginia Tech Massacre and went through the terror of that event personally, I think I can speak for many in the community who take offense to these broad statements about the VT community and applying the acts of a few to the community as a whole. I am a proud Hokie, forever and always, and my thoughts and players are with the victims, their families, and the VT community.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Well Said Erin!!! I have lived in this area my entire life and by no means is this a high crime area. There are sick people all over this planet. VT just happens to be in the spotlight for various reasons, one being the massacre. Therefore any and all violent crimes on campus will be top rate news. This stuff happens all over the globe!! Can we just pray for the victims and their families!! Also, pray for those that are on the campus locked down having flashbacks!!!!!! I have family their and right now they are very scared!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ScotcopsUSA

    Last report is an officer has been shot.

    Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011

    From VT Alerts (1:12 p.m.): Suspect remains at large. A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place.

    From VT Alerts (12:47 p.m.): Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas. Call 911

    From VT Alerts (12:37 p.m.): Gun shots reported- Coliseum Parking lot. Stay Inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. €:^)

    Might as well give up and run if we let them take our god and guns. Lynyrd skynyrd ...

    December 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mark Schaffer

    Yeah! More guns...that's the answer! If you want more death...

    December 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. VT Faculty

    I heard the police officer died.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeffrey

    Virginia Tech is going to become more famous and have loony teens go there to commit these crimes @_@

    December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Moonshine7102

    Unreal. I thought VA Tech's ban on the carrying of weapons on campus was supposed to prevent such a thing. Huh.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kill him

    Catch the guy and have him take a seat on the electric chair. Tomorrow!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheMovieFan

    The guy was just exercising his 2nd Amendment rights.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna


      December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viking

      No one has the right to murder. That was a very ignorant comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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