Thursday, December 8, 2011

VT Shooting: Second Dead Body Likely That Of Shooter

(Matt Gentry/Roanoke Times/AP Photo)
By Sabrina Tavernise, Timothy Williams, and J. David Goodman/New York Times

Two people, including a police officer, were shot and killed Thursday afternoon on the campus of Virginia Tech, the scene of a 2007 massacre in which 33 people were slain, the authorities said. The campus police officer, whose name was not released, was shot at close range by a man who had walked up to him as the officer was making a traffic stop in a school parking lot at about noon, the police said.

The shooter then fled the scene, the authorities said, leading to a university-wide lockdown of students and staff in campus buildings, the activation of the school’s emergency notification alert system and hundreds of police officers hurrying to respond.

The second victim, whose identity has not been released, was found dead from a gunshot wound, about a quarter of a mile from where the officer had been shot.

The authorities would not say whether the second victim was the man who shot the officer, but by late Thursday afternoon the police had lifted the campus lockdown, saying there was “no longer an active threat,” and allowed people to go home.

The authorities also said that they had found a gun near the body of the second man, and said officers had not shot him. But they would not say if the man had died from a self-inflicted wound. The police said they did not think the shooter knew the person who had been pulled over by the officer.

“We do not believe the gunman was related in any way to the traffic stop,” said Gene Deisinger, the deputy chief of police at Virginia Tech.

No classes were in session on Thursday because students had been given a day off to prepare for finals, but there were still thousands of students, staff and faculty members on campus at the time, officials said. The exams have since been postponed.

Charles W. Steger, the president of the university, described the shooting as a “wanton act of violence,” but the authorities would not discuss a possible motive or disclose other key details about what had happened, saying that they were continuing to investigate.

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