BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Tech campus was on lockdown Thursday afternoon following a shooting that killed two people.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Sgt. Robert Carpentieri told the media it appears the gunman walked into a parking lot and shot an officer during a traffic stop.
We're told an officer later spotted a second person in a parking lot who was alive, but later died. Police at that press conference wouldn't confirm if that second person was the shooter.
Just after 4:30 p.m., the campus-wide alert was lifted. Police won't say if this shooting is the result of a murder-suicide.
Our sister station, WSLS, is reporting there is a candlelight vigil is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the April 16 memorial site.
Update: 6:23 p.m. --
Virginia Tech has announced that exams originally set for Friday, are now to be held Saturday.
"The final exams that were originally scheduled for Friday will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10 in their originally scheduled rooms and at the originally scheduled times. Regular final exam schedule will resume on Monday, Dec 12. Faculty members are asked to use their best judgement to make accommodations where appropriate."
The university is also offering counseling services until 9:00 p.m. tonight and all day Friday.
"Cook Counseling Center's main office in McComas Hall will be open until 9 p.m. for any students needing assistance. The center's main office and the satellite office in East Eggleston Hall will have counselors available for students all day Friday. The center will determine later if Saturday hours will be added. The center can be reached by phone at 540-231-6557. Website is: http://www.ucc.vt.edu/"
Update: 6:02 p.m. --
Statement from Senator Jim Webb:
"I was saddened to learn of the tragic shooting today and of the officer who lost his life in the line of duty. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of the officer who was slain, and to the entire Virginia Tech community, especially its leaders and police force. Tech is one of the Commonwealth's finest universities, recognized nationwide for its first-rate faculty, staff and students, and its officials demonstrated that excellence today through their handling of this difficult situation."
Update: 5:11 p.m. --
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."
Update: 4:34 p.m. --
At 4:29 p.m., Virginia Tech posted the following update on Twitter, indicating the lockdown on the university's campus has been lifted.
"Law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."
Update: 4:30 p.m. --
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.
Update: 4:12 p.m. -
Statement from Governor Bob McDonnell:
"I am deeply saddened by today's news of another tragedy affecting the Virginia Tech community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those impacted by these shootings. Since this news first broke we have been monitoring the situation closely and I have made available all requested state resources to Virginia Tech, including the Virginia State Police. I have also spoken to Virginia Tech President Charles Steger earlier this afternoon.
I want to thank the multiple law enforcement agencies and all of the officers for their speedy response and focus during this difficult time. I also want to commend Virginia Tech leadership, students, faculty and staff who cooperated to efficiently respond to this emergency.
While we will await the completion of the initial investigation of this incident before commenting further, I want to again offer our continued support to all of those impacted by this tragedy. Virginia Tech is a university of great resolve, and I have no doubt that the students, alumni and faculty of this proud institution will emerge from this sad day stronger and more united than ever before. There will continue to be needs in the days ahead as we move forward from this situation and I will ensure that those needs are met completely and fully by the Commonwealth."
Update: 3:46 p.m. --
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: 3:01 p.m. --
As the search continues for the suspect in Thursday's shooting, Virginia Tech has announced exams originally scheduled for Friday have been postponed.
Update: 2:44 p.m. --
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: 2:25 p.m. --
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: 1:52 p.m. --
Virginia Tech has confirmed two people are dead, including a police officer, following a shooting on the university's campus.
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 parking lot, near Duck Pond Drive. 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.
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