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. a whole

    this is a crucial a hole comment

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

    My prayers are for all the people at VA Texh and Blacksburg, VA. I live very close to the area and to have this happen a second time is heartwrenching.

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

    Why give students at the Virginia Tech guns?? If students need to protect themselves, why not give them tasers.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why the hell are we allowed to embed videos here? LOL

      yeah a criminal with a gun is going to be afraid of a tazer

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

      cause if you come at me with a tazer, I'm just going to shoot you.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Nobody is "giving" them guns. I'm pretty sure guns aren't allowed on campus. Shockingly though, laws are sometimes broken.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willowspring

      Because tasers are for contact only and are used to subdue. They are not a defensive weapon with the ability to afford protection.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeffrey

    I empathize with how you feel towards your acquaintances and friends and school Alisa, but you have to stare people like those down and not be afraid to stand up against them.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fisherman1

    that wasn't matt dzierzynski that said that was it ?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    not really sure it's appropriate to have a gun/no-gun discussion when a bunch of people's lives are in danger, but nothing I can do to help. Yes the cop failed in defending himself... but he had the opportunity to try and repel this guy... pretty much no one else on the campus can do anything but hide and pray.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. D

    This is a serious matter. Those of us that were directly affected by the prior shootings knows firsthand how tramatic it was and what the students must be going through this time. Everyone should be praying for the police officer's family and for the students on campus that are trying to prepare for finals.

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

    I can see that someone else is a homeland fan...haha

    December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cj7

    Suspect has been apprehended.

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

      No he hasn't.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tabitha Johns

    this is sooooooooooooooooo crazy and i hope they find this dude and lock him up for good and dont let him out. prayers go out to the people got shot

    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kristina

    It's amazing how many people have negative comments and opinions about things such as this that happen in the world, but if you were in their shoes, it would be completely different. Ignore the snide, rude comments. Believe me, I know it's hard. It was no different for us after the plane crash, but those people will have karma to deal with. Praying for you guys at VT. Stay safe. All of us at Oklahoma State hope he is caught soon and no one else is hurt!

    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dr Nickkk

    First off, I hope that the cop who was shot survives, everyone is safe, and the one responsible receives some swift justice. That being said, I think the media needs to give it a rest. Shootings occur every day across the country, in both rural, and metropolitan areas, and most of them don't get national attention within minutes of happening. With Blacksburg it's different, because it is such a sensational topic for the media, considering its history with April 16th. This is very unfortunate because it puts Blacksburg in such a negative light, and judging by some of the reactive comments that I'm reading, it makes one think that Blacksburg is filled with trigger-happy predators who are bent on committing extensive crime sprees. Really? You have no clue how far from the truth that is. As Blacksburg resident, and I can say that there is nothing wrong with 99.9999% of the people here, so everyone needs to stop reacting like this place is worse than South Central LA.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cat-Cat

    Guns don't kill, its wortless people with no respect or common sense , just sayin

    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. local resident

    Yesterday in Radford an armed suspect stole a car and was still at large. Just wondering if the two are connected?

    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. us1776

    Take violence off TV and most of this stuff would never happen.


    December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      Yes, let's all stick our heads in the sand and the bad stuff will just go away.

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