Just In: Richmond, Virginia – Two people, including a police officer, have been killed on the campus of Virginia Tech, the scene of a 2007 massacre in 2007, in which 33 people died, university officials said.
The shooting took place around noon, a university spokesman said, after a campus police offer made what she described as a routine traffic stop in a parking lot near McComas Hall. During the stop, the officer was shot and killed, said the spokesman, Mark Owczarski, Director of News and Information.
Witnesses reported that the shooter fled on foot, heading toward a different parking lot, called the Cage, near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person was found, also dead. It was unclear whether that person had been shot.
An image posted online by the student sports newspaper the Collegiate Times appeared to show a cordoned off area and white sheet covering a body in the middle of a narrow road.
The status of the shooter was unknown, Mr. Owczarski said. He said students are being told to stay inside and not come out, and that the campus is closed to visitors.
A bulletin described the suspected gunman, traveling on foot in the direction of a recreational sports building: “white male, grey sweatpants, grey hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack.”
The student publication also said that a man matching the suspect’s description had been arrested; the university did not immediately issue a new statement and the campus remained on lockdown.
The Virginia State Police have been asked to take the lead in the case, Mr. Owczarski said.
On April 16, 2007, a student, Seung-Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people before killing himself on Virginia Tech’s quite campus, five hours south of Washington, D.C. in the western mountains of Virginia. It was the country’s deadliest school shooting. It prompted a national outcry, and eventually led to changes in legislation that closed loopholes, which allowed Mr. Cho to buy guns even though he had been committed to a mental hospital.
In August, university officials locked down the campus after three children reported seeing a man holding what they said may have been a handgun.