Virginia Tech has confirmed two people are dead, including a police officer, following a shooting on the university's campus.
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Statement from Mark Owczarski, director of news and information at Virginia Tech:
"Shortly after 12 p.m. today, a Virginia Tech Police officer stopped a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall
During the traffic stop. the officer was shot and killed. There were witnesses to this shooting.
Witnesses reported to police the shooter fled on foot heading toward the Cage, a parking lot near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person was found. That person is also deceased.
Several law enforcement agencies have responded to assist. Virginia State police has been requested to take lead in the investigation
Status of the shooter is unknown. The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus."
Update: 1:17 p.m. --
Virginia Tech has confirmed a police officer was shot. There's also reports of a possible second victim at Cage lot. The university is urging everyone to remain indoors.
Here is the latest Virginia Tech campus alert:
"Suspect remains at large. A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place."
Virginia Tech Tip Line: 540-231-6411
The university is reporting shots fired near the Coliseum parking lot. The suspect is described as a white male, wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, maroon hoodie and a maroon backpack.
A Virginia Tech alert stated the suspect was last seen walking toward McComas Hall, which is the main gym on campus, about two blocks from Lane Stadium.
Around 12:45 p.m. Thursday, Virginia Tech's website read:
"There is an active campus alert in Blacksburg. Everyone should seek shelter or stay where you are. Blacksburg Transit service is suspended until the alert is lifted."
Stay with NBC12 for the very latest on this developing story.
UPDATE, 2:20 PM.
At 2:20 p.m., Virginia Tech posted the following update on the university's website:
"Numerous reports have been made recently of sounds identified as gunshots and suspicious activity on campus. 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."
UPDATE, 2:44 PM.
Statement from Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor:
"We are all saddened and stunned to hear about the tragedy at Virginia Tech today. Such violence is never easy to explain, and cuts to our core - especially on a campus that has experienced such grief in the past. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the entire Hokie Community. We also pray for the law enforcement officials who are risking their own lives to keep the Virginia Tech campus safe."
UPDATE, 3:01 PM.
As the search continues for the suspect in Thursday's shooting, Virginia Tech has announced exams originally scheduled for Friday have been postponed.
Statement from Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott:
"I was deeply saddened to hear about today's shooting at Virginia Tech, a campus that has already been wrought with grief and worked hard to restore a sense of normalcy and safety to its community. Incidents like this highlight the need for a National Center for Campus Public Safety, the subject of H.R. 2342, the CAMPUS Safety Act of 2011. This National Center for Campus Public Safety would train campus public safety agencies, encourage research to strengthen college safety and security, and serve as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of relevant campus public safety information. My thoughts are with the victims' families and all those affected by this terrible tragedy."UPDATE, 4:30 PM.
NBC News is reporting law enforcement officials believe the second victim in Thursday's shooting is the suspected gunman. We're awaiting a press conference with new details. We'll be streaming that live on NBC12.com and will provide you updates when we get them.Also, I heard on the news that they've obtained the weapon.
UPDATE, 5:11 PM.
Virginia Tech posted the following update at 4:48 p.m.:
"Virginia State Police responded to Virginia Tech in reference to a shooting in reference to a Virginia Tech police officer being shot and killed while on a traffic stop at the Cassell Coliseum parking lot on Spring Road. Virginia Tech police requested that the Virginia State Police assume primary responsibility for the investigation of the incident.
The individual 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.
The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation out of Salem are currently at both crime scenes. Also, our tact team, canine units, and patrol are currently on the Virginia Tech campus assisting the Virginia Tech Police Department.
We are in the early stages of the investigation, and we don't have any additional details at this time.
The officer is a four-year veteran of the Virginia Tech Police Department and was assigned to patrol."Source