A police officer was shot and killed early this afternoon on Virginia Tech’s campus during a routine traffic stop, putting the campus on lockdown for several hours. The suspect fled the scene, and police later found another body in another part of campus.
NBC is reporting that the second body is believed to be the suspect, and that the recovered weapon was his own, but police wouldn’t comment on that at press conference Thursday evening, saying the investigation is still pending.
“Today tragedy again struck Virginia Tech in a wanton act of violence,” said Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech. “Our hearts are broken again for the family of our police officer and we extend our deepest sympathy and condolences.” He said counseling will be available to students and staff.
Robert Carpentieri, of the Virginia state police, said the police officer had stopped a driver for a traffic violation when a third party approached the officer and shot him. Gene Deisinger, the Virginia Tech deputy chief of police, said that the police officer was a four-year veteran on the campus force. It was the first time a Virginia Tech university police officer has been killed in the line of duty.
Earlier this afternoon, students were asked to stay indoors as hundreds of police officers searched and secured campus buildings and public areas. Area K-12 schools were on lockdown, but later released students. The university lifted the lockdown at 4:30 p.m.
“We’re looking absolutely everywhere for the person who fits the description,” Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech spokesman, said at a mid-afternoon press conference. Students are not in class today because exams were set for tomorrow, he said. Those exams are now postponed. “It’s a very tragic day.”
Lerone Graham, a reporter for local newspaper the Roanoke Times reported via Twitter that, “students scarce now around campus; sirens sounding constantly.” Later reports of more gunshots on campus are unfounded, however, the university says.
Source: Yahoo The Lookout | Liz Goodwin