Virginia Tech goes into lockdown after man sighted carrying a handgun


Virginia Tech students and their families are pictured April 16, 2008, during a remembrance ceremony one year after the shooting rampage by Cho Seung-Hui that left 32 people dead.


Mario Tama

Virginia Tech, site of the worst school shooting in U.S. history, went into lockdown Thursday morning after three youths reported seeing a man carrying a handgun.

Virginia Tech officials told students on their website to stay inside and secure doors. The alert, issued at 9:37 a.m., said the man had been spotted near Dietrick Hall, a dining area of Virginia Tech, scene of shooting rampage in April 2007 that left 32 people dead and 25 wounded, USA Today reports.

Dietrick, a three-story, 93,000-square-foot building, is yards from the dorm where the first shootings took place in the 2007 attack by Seung-Hui Cho, the worst school shooting in U.S. history. 

The Richmond Times-Dispatch quotes Larry Hincker, a Virginia Tech spokesman, as saying that youth attending the Higher Achievement leadership camp for young people reported seeing the gunman.

The Guardian reports that the young people reported seeing a 6-foot "white man" with light brown hair, a blue and white vertically striped shirt, grey shorts and brown sandals. The report said he had no facial hair or glasses.

The reported weapon — "what may have been a handgun" — was covered by a cloth or covering of some sort.

Security staff and agencies responded immediately but found no one matching the description.