As you likely have heard by now, a shooting incident on the Virginia Tech campus has left two people dead. This is an open thread to discuss the incident and post links with the latest breaking updates.
[Updates below in reverse chronological order, with the latest breaking news at the top]:
Update (4:28pm PST):
Well, it looks like the immediate danger is over, and by now the evening news channels have jumped on the story and camera crews are all over campus, so we’ll stop posting updates here (unless some major new aspect emerges).
Update (2:17pm PST):
AP reports that the shooter was not actually the person pulled over at the traffic stop – the suspect approached the officer on foot and shot him for no apparent reason:
A gunman walked into a parking lot and killed a Virginia Tech police officer who was conducting a traffic stop on campus Thursday, state police said.
Sgt. Robert Carpentieri said it appeared that the shooter was not in the car that had been pulled over. The sergeant said another officer later spotted a second person in a different parking lot who was alive at the time. That person later died.
Police would not say during a Thursday afternoon news conference whether the second dead person was the gunman who killed the officer. However, a law enforcement official who had knowledge of the case and spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that the gunman was believed to be dead.
Virginia Tech officials said on the school’s website that a weapon was recovered near the second body found on campus. School officials also said there was no longer an active threat Thursday afternoon and that normal activities could resume.
Update (1:45pm PST):
NBC’s Washington affiliate confirms that the second body is the gunman:
Law enforcement officials believe the second shooting victim at Virginia Tech was the man who shot and killed a campus police officer during a traffic stop.
The campus-wide alert for a gunman at large was lifted about 4:30 p.m. Students no longer need to shelter in place and can resume their normal activities as there is no longer a threat on campus.
Update (1:43pm PST):
KZTV confirms that the campus lockdown has been lifted:
Officials at Virginia Tech have informed students and faculty that the campus wide lockdown has been lifted as a threat no longer remains after two people were shot and killed this morning.
Update (1:39pm PST):
KVUE confirms that the shooter is dead and that the active crisis is over:
Law enforcement official tells AP that Virginia Tech gunman is believed to be dead.
Update (1:37pm PST):
Nick Cafferky is at the press conference and tweets that the second victim may in fact be the shooter and that the threat is over (still not yet officially confirmed):
“there is a RUMOR that the second victim was actually the shooter. Will be able to confirm or refute it shortly.”
“NBC4 in DC area is reporting that the 2nd dead is in fact the suspect, can you confirm?” Haven’t heard anything.”
Update (1:30pm PST):
A press conference is starting right now on campus; new details will likely be revealed soon. Stay tuned.
Update (1:27pm PST):
Even Luzi’s Twitter feed contains a dramatic photo of officers from various agencies searching a stairwell for the suspect:
Update (1:12pm PST):
Time magazine also comments on the strange coincidence that today’s shootings happened at the exact same time as a hearing about the 2007 shootings:
The shooting came the same day as Virginia Tech, which has an enrollment of about 30,000, was appealing a $55,000 fine by the U.S. Education Department in connection with the university’s response to the 2007 rampage, when a student gunman killed 32 students and faculty and then shot himself.
Update (12:58pm PST):
Mike Gangloff of the Roanoke Times has tweeted a map showing the exact locations of key moments in the incident:
Update (12:55pm PST):
A university statement said the incident started shortly after noon when a campus police officer stopped a vehicle during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.
The officer was shot and killed. Witnesses said the shooter fled on foot toward the Cage, a parking lot near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person, also dead, was found.
The suspect was described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.
As sirens blared, heavily armed police officers were seen running through the area around the roundabout at the end of Washington Street, and officers searched cars around the Cage. At the Coliseum, what appeared to be a body was covered with a cloth in a taped-off area of the parking lot. Officers there told a dozen student-age onlookers to leave for their own safety.
The campus was swarming Thursday with heavily armed officers walking around campus. Caravans of SWAT vehicles and other police cars with emergency lights flashing patrolled nearby. Students hunkered down in buildings.
Update (12:49pm PST):
“Suspect is at large. Police still conducting searches. No changes in campus situation.”
The L.A. Times confirms:
“Virginia Tech shooting: `We are looking absolutely everywhere.’ ”
Update (12:47pm PST):
WDBJ has a video of a press conference that just concluded on campus, but it contained no significant updates other than the news that the shooter has not yet been captured.
Update (12:40pm PST):
More photos of the police response on campus can be found at the link.
Update (12:34pm PST):
Here’s a map showing where the two shootings took place on campus.
Update (11:39am PST):
Here’s a YouTube video uploaded moments ago taken by a student in a dorm room, showing the police response shortly after the first shooting:
“This was the beginning of the shootings, the police and FBI are still on the hunt for the shooter or shooters. Right outside of my dorm a police officer was shot and killed, with another shooting reported in a nearby parking lot. Quickly took this footage of what I can see. Still in progress.”
Update (11:37am PST):
The L.A. Times blog has a few more details:
A suspect remained at large Thursday afternoon on the campus of Virginia Tech after a police officer and at least one other person were shot dead, the university said.
During a traffic stop on campus, the suspect shot and killed a Virginia Tech police officer and then fled on foot through a nearby parking lot.
A second person was later found dead in that parking lot, the university said.
The university said the status of the shooter was unknown and the school remained on lockdown.
Update (11:30am PST):
The Collegiate Times Photo Editor has just uploaded some pictures taken on the scene. Here is one of a policeman preparing his weapon as he gets ready to enter the campus:
Update (11:27am PST):
“6 ATF agents are on campus, 20 others on standby. FBI rushing agents down also.”
Update (11:24am PST):
“Suspect killed police officer in Coliseum Lot, then fled toward Cage. Second victim was killed in parking lot.”
(Note: “The Cage” is the name of a Virginia Tech parking lot.)
Update (11:18am PST):
Two people, including a police officer, were fatally shot on Virginia Tech’s campus on Thursday, according to a university spokesman.
A police officer and an unidentified victim were confirmed dead just before 2 p.m.
The suspect, according to the posting, is described as a white male wearing gray sweatpants and a gray hat with a neon green brim. He was believed to traveling on foot near McComas Hall, a campus gym.
Update (11:00am PST):
As of 2pm EST, the shooter is still at large, according to the Collegiate Times:
Update (10:57am PST) by Ed Driscoll:
A CBS affiliate is reporting “Virginia Tech confirms two people killed. One of those is an officer.”
Update (10:50am PST):
The Twitter feed of the campus newspaper, the Collegiate Times, has breaking updates. Looks like someone has been arrested, but it is unclear as of this writing if it is definitively the gunman. (Fox News TV is reporting that it is the gunman, but let’s wait for a confirmation):
Update (10:46am PST):
Here’s a screenshot of the Virginia tech homepage as of 1:46pm EST:
Update (10:40am PST):
In a bizarre coincidence, the school’s Police Chief was testifying at a hearing today about the infamous 2007 shooting on campus, defending his department’s actions in that case, the bloodiest in U.S. history. Apparently while he was testifying, an entirely new shooting incident was happening on campus:
After two Virginia Tech students were shot in their dormitory on April 16, 2007, there were no immediate signs of an additional safety threat on campus, the school’s police chief said Thursday.
But more shootings did follow that morning, leaving a total of 33 people dead. The Education Department has fined the university $55,000 in connection with its response to the rampage, a penalty that Virginia Tech is contesting before an administrative law judge.
The department says the school violated the law by waiting more than two hours after the dorm shootings before sending an email warning. By then, student gunman Seung-Hui Cho was chaining the doors to a classroom building where he killed 30 more people and then himself.
The department says the email was too vague because it mentioned only a “shooting incident,” not the deaths.
The police chief, Wendell Flinchum, testified on the second day of the hearing that the evidence indicated the dorm violence was a domestic shooting and the assailant probably had fled.
It seems as if the new procedures established after the 2007 shooting are already in place: the school issued a campus-wide lockdown order as soon as today’s shootings were first reported.
Update (10:35am PST):
Virginia Tech is on lockdown after a police officer was shot, the school said Thursday.
“A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place,” the school said on its website.
The suspect remains at large, the school said.
Minutes earlier, the school said shots were reported at the coliseum parking lot.
“Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas,” the school said on its website.
Update (10:29am PST):
Virginia Tech says gunshots have been reported on campus, and authorities are seeking a suspect.
The university said in a Thursday post on Twitter that the shots were reported at the coliseum parking lot and that people should remain inside.
The suspect is described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, gray hat with neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack.