Two killed in Virginia Tech shooting
(AP/ABC7) - Two people, including a police officer, were killed Thursday on the Virginia Tech campus, the same school that was the scene of the tragic 2007 massacre that left 33 dead.
Authorities said the police officer was killed during a routine traffic stop in the school’s coliseum parking lot a little after noon.
Another body, first believed to be a victim of the shooting, was found in a nearby parking lot.
The gunman, who was not in the vehicle, walked up to the officer and shot him, authorities said. The officer was a four-year veteran of the force.
The gunman was later found dead nearby. Authorities implied that the second victim is the gunman who killed the police officer.
The Washington Post later confirmed that the shooter is the second person who was found dead.
The school remained on lockdown for about four hours as law enforcement officers swept through the campus searching for additional suspects. Police were seen sweeping out across the school.
“Oh no – here we go again,” says Robert Denton Jr., a Virginia Tech professor via telephone. “We take it very seriously because of the magnitude.”
"It's just sadness," he says.
Students react to the shooting
"It's crazy that someone would go and do something like that with all the stuff that happened in 2007," said Corey Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore from Mechanicsville, Va., who was headed to a dining hall near the site of one of the shootings, but stayed inside after seeing the alerts from the school.
"It's just weird to think about why someone would do something like this when the school's had so many problems," he told the AP.
The school reports that the suspect is a white male wearing gray sweatpants, a gray hat with a neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.
A news release from the school says the police officer had pulled someone over in what was a routine traffic stop Thursday. The officer was shot and killed during the traffic stop.
Witnesses told police the shooter ran toward a parking lot on campus. A second person was found dead in that parking lot.
The shooting comes the same day as Virginia Tech is appealing a $55,000 fine by the Education Department in connection with the university's response to a 2007 rampage that left 33 people dead.
In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 students, faculty and himself during a shooting massacre at the school. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Harry White, 20, a junior physics major, said he was in line for a sandwich at a restaurant in a campus building when he received the text message alert.
White said he didn't panic, thinking instead about a false alarm about a possible gunman that locked down the campus in August. White used an indoor walkway to go to a computer lab in an adjacent building, where he checked news reports.
"I decided to just check to see how serious it was. I saw it's actually someone shooting someone, not something false, something that looks like a gun," White said.
There were fewer students on campus than usual because classes ended Wednesday and students were preparing for exams.