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. lc

    cnn update your page! huffpost is saying that WNEM-TV is reporting that at least one person is dead! you havent updated since 1:16!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      CNN will report when it is confirmed.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hokiesss

    PEOPLE! Please PLEASE please stop talking about the jacked up BCS football right now when peoples lives are at stake here. This is not something to be taken lightly. GROW UP

    December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • a whole

      sounds like loser talk.

      btw, a holes are everywhere. if you dont want an a hole response, don't comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry Sandusky

    God, this university is a mess!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cj7

    The police officer was killed. I hope they stop the gunmen dead in his tracks soon.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jon

    Why is this not a huge story on the CNN website instead of a link under latest news?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NamCbtVet

    Another NRA authorized gun totter on the loose.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      "I don't like guns so you shouldn't be allowed to have one."
      Fixed that for ya.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • GINGER51

      What does the NRA have to do with this?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Moonshine7102

    You are one sick puppy.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. troy

    Allah Akbar

    December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MrSatyre

    Impossible. Guns aren't allowed on campus.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ralf The Dog

    My concern is the backpack the guy has.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry Sandusky

    VT is a really messed up place.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Su Lynn

      I guess you must be bored under house arrest. Talk about "messed" up!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian Lomax

      First of all there is nothing wrong with Virginia Tech and as alum I take exception to that especially from a handle that is named after a child molester. Secondly school violence was not invited at Virginia Tech there have been many schools that have been effected by violence, not that I am Southerner but blaming it on Southern culture is wrong as well. There is a high level of violence at schools that are in urban locations it has nothing to do with Northern or Southern culture or the schools it is society and ignorance. Lastly have some compassion we do not know if this has anything to do with university but we do know that one person is dead and the other is injured. In closing there are many things that make me proud to be a Hokie but the most important one was how those students conducted themselves after the first tragedy. The dignity the students and the community showed made me proud so overwhelming proud that it is hard to express. We are Tech means a lot to us we have dignity and compassion and I would like to ask the same out of this blog. Be apart of the human race not the cause of its demise. Thank you

      December 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Debrap424

    How is this National News, except for the fact that was a gunspree a few years ago? Shooting's happen ALL THE TIME near or on campuses. So STFU VT students; unless your from Blacksburg, you were barely affected by the tragedy that happened 5 years ago. You remind me of Penn State students, claiming to be Pro-Paterno just to write about it on facebook – "You just don't get it man".

    December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Don't feed the trolls.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Have a little sympathy. Most of the time there is a shooting at a university or school, it does become national news...these are supposed to be safe areas. My prayers go out to all of those affected.

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

      I'm pretty sure that those of us that were students there 5 years ago were pretty affected... even though most of us are not from Blacksburg...

      December 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debrap424

      Kyle, was it National News on Halloween when there was a shooting in Georgetown DC? I don't remember my friends hearing about the shooting that happened on my campus when I was there. There are campuses every few miles in some parts of the country, and there are shootings EVERY DAY, so no, you don't hear about every shooting that happens on or NEAR a campus.

      Kelly, yes you were affected. I am talking about the students of TODAY and how little THEY were affected 5 years ago.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Debrap424

    According to the article this really has nothing to do with VT. We don't know if any of the victims or suspect were associated with the school.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      It happened on campus... that would be something to do with VT. And maroon sweatshirt on the VT campus with a backpack? Most likely a student.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • VT Student

      The reports say it's near campus but the parking lot that the officer was shot and killed in is less then 50 yards from over 5 big dorms therefore it has everything to do withVT

      December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kirk

    Police Officer Has Been Killed; Potential Second Victim is reporting that a police officer has been shot and killed.

    Reports indicate a second person may have been wounded.

    A police officer has been shot and killed and the campus placed on lockdown after shots were fired at Virginia Tech.
    Reports indicate a second person may have been wounded.
    According to a Virginia Tech alert sent to students, the second victim is located in the Cage Lot, an off-campus parking lot where students can park their cars and take a shuttle to campus.
    Share this:
    Link to this:

    December 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      FYI, the Cage is not off-campus.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NamCbtVet

    Pray for the family of the officer.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
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