Police officer, shot, killed on Va. Tech campus, gunmen no longer at large
A Virginia Tech University police officer was shot and killed on campus today during a routine police stop. Reports have emerged that a second victim that was reported was actually the gunman, though university and law enforcement officials have not yet confirmed that.
A Virginia Tech University police officer was shot and killed while making a routine traffic stop about 12:15 Thursday afternoon, University President Charles Steger said.
"Our hearts are broken again for the family of our police officer," he said.
The gunmen prompted an hours-long manhunt across campus that caused students and faculty to be trapped in their classrooms, before possibly turning the gun on himself. NBC News was the first to report that the second victim was actually the shooter.
Sgt. Bob Carpentieri of the Virginia State Police said a person, not the individual who had been pulled over, was believed to be the shooter. He declined to confirm that the second deceased individual was the shooter, though he did not reject it either.
"Virginia Tech police responded to the scene and found the officer," campus deputy police chief Gene Deisinger said.
Local, state and federal law enforcement also responded to the campus to help apprehend the suspect.
"The (suspect) fled that crime scene in the direction of a second crime scene a quarter of a mile away, where a male body was found at that location with a gunshot wound," Carpentieri said. "Another body of a white male was discovered there."
The campus newspaper, the Collegiate Times, was the first to report the police officer's death.
"The second (victim) is an unknown male subject who was found deceased in a parking lot near the Duck Pond. A weapon has been recovered at the location of the second individual," the university said on its website.
Larry Hincker, the University's chief spokesman, said he was extremely grateful for the assistance of other police forces as well as to students and faculty who stayed inside.
On it's Facebook page and via Twitter, Virginia Tech said that the lockdown had been lifted as of 4:30 p.m.
A picture of the area where the second individual, possibly the shooter, was found, was shared on Twitter. It showed what appeared to be a body covered in a sheet.
Police systematically searched the Virginia Tech campus and surrounding Blacksburg, Va., for the suspect. Campus police were assisted by community and state police as well as by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to Virginia Tech, numerous additional reports of gunshot were made and of suspicious activity on campus. None were actually dangerous.
"These recent reports have been investigated and are unfounded. The suspect's status remains unknown. Several law enforcement agencies are on scene to assist. Please stay where you are and secure your surroundings," the university said.
There's no word on if the shooter had any previous connection to Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was the site of the worst school shooting in U.S. history in April 2007.