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Virginia Tech Shooting: Shots Fired At Virginia Tech, At Least 2 Dead

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A police officer and one other person were killed on the Virginia Tech campus on Thursday, according to university officials. The incident took place on the same campus where the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history occurred back in 2007.

In a statement posted on its website, the school reported that shortly after noon, a Virginia Tech police officer made a traffic stop. The officer was then shot and killed, according to witnesses.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, authorities said the gunman was not believed to have been involved in the traffic stop.

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The shooter fled on foot toward another parking lot, where a second body was later recovered.

At the press conference, school officials and law enforcement authorities declined to identify the second person found dead as the gunman. However a law enforcement source speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that the second body is believed to be the remains of the suspect.

Following the shootings, the campus was put on lockdown and students were urged to remain indoors. At 4:31 p.m., the lockdown was lifted.

The suspect is described as a white male, wearing "gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack," according to a 12:47 p.m. tweet from the university's VT Alerts notification system.

Law enforcement from several agencies responded with Virginia state police taking the lead in the investigation.

Full statement from Virginia Tech below:

Police investigating shootings on campus; shooter's status unknown
(Posted: 1:49 p.m.) Shortly after noon 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

The status of the shooter is unknown. The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.

The AP adds that it was the first gunfire on campus since 33 people were killed in 2007.

The deaths came on the same day that Virginia Tech's police chief testified in DC about how the school handled the 2007 shooting. The university is facing charges of failure to issue a timely warning and failure to follow its own procedures for providing notification.

The campus was swarming Thursday with heavily armed officers walking around campus. Caravans of SWAT vehicles and other police cars with emergency lights flashing patrolled nearby. Students hunkered down in buildings.

"It's crazy that someone would go and do something like that with all the stuff that happened in 2007," said Corey Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore from Mechanicsville, Va., who was headed to a dining hall near the site of one of the shootings.

He told The Associated Press that he stayed inside after seeing the alerts from the school. "It's just weird to think about why someone would do something like this when the school's had so many problems," Smith said.

Thursday was a "study" day for Virginia Tech students in preparation for final exams, which were to begin Friday. Final exams have been postponed for now.

[Image: LeroneNRV/Lockerz.com]

This is a developing story.. More information to come..

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting was the deadliest shooting in modern history. It has been modified to 'deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.'

Virginia Tech Shooting 2011
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The AP has a map of where on Virginia Tech's Campus today's shooting occurred. You can see it here.

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@ CollegiateTimes : Tech police have confirmed that the second person found shot to death was visible in video footage taken from car of slain officer Crouse.

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@ CollegiateTimes : Slain Virginia Tech officer identified as Deriek W. Crouse, a 49 year old of Christiansburg.

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From the AP:

About 150 students gathered silently for a candlelight vigil at Virginia Tech after a police officer was gunned down and the shooter apparently killed himself on campus.

Read more here.

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The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's newspaper, has a photo gallery of today's events. See it here.

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From The New York Times:

In 2007, The Collegiate Times did not have a tool for publishing real-time updates and informing fellow students about what they had reported. On Thursday, the newspaper’s Twitter account, @collegiatetimes, was providing updates every few minutes, quickly becoming a source for information about the shooting and the response on campus as students and staff members were locked down during the afternoon.

Read more here.

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@ washingtonpost : RT @WPJenna Time change: #VirginiaTech will hold candlelight vigil at 6:30pm Friday: http://t.co/B0RsDEcl

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@ washingtonpost : #BREAKINGNEWS: Officials say #VirginiaTech shooter is second victim http://t.co/8BokDoMD

Via The Washington Post:

A Virginia Tech police officer was fatally shot Thursday during a routine traffic stop on the Blacksburg campus and a second person was found slain in a nearby parking lot after the gunman fled, the university reports.

Law enforcement and government officials said that the person found dead in the parking lot is the gunman who killed the officer. At a news conference late this afternoon, neither state police nor university officials would confirm that the dead man was the suspect.

Full story here.

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Via Cantor's website / YouTube channel:

"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."

WATCH his remarks:

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Via Virginia Tech's website:

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.

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There will be a candlelight vigil held tonight from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Virginia Tech drill field.

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From Virginia Tech's website:

(Posted: 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.

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Virginia Tech has notified its students that they are safe to resume normal activities. From its Facebook page:

Law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities.

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From Virginia Tech's website:

(Posted: 4:19 p.m.)Virginia State Police and Virginia Tech Police remain on the scene of an officer-involved shooting on the Virginia Tech campus. At this time there are two confirmed deaths. One is a Virginia Tech Police Officer. The second is an unknown male subject who was found deceased in a parking lot near the Duck Pond. A weapon has been recovered at the location of the second individual. Reports of any additional shots being fired or any additional victims are unfounded.

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Tune in here or watch above.

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Police tell NBC they believe the second shooting victim may be the man who killed the police officer.

Law enforcement officials tell NBC News they believe the second shooting victim at Virginia Tech University was the man who shot and killed the campus policeman.

NBC's Pete Williams reports that authorities say they're awaiting final confirmation but that they believe the campuswide alert for a gunman at large will soon be canceled.

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@ msnbc_breaking : NBC: Police believe gunman is dead in Virginia Tech shooting http://t.co/6lLXu2Vy

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Governor Bob McDonnell issued this statement on the shooting:

“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.

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From Virginia Tech's website:

(Posted: 2:59 p.m.) Tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 9 is the start of final exams for the fall term. Exams scheduled for Friday (tomorrow) have been postponed.

A decision regarding the final exam schedule will be made as soon as we have more information. All information will be send via campus wide email and posted to the univerity homepage.

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From what it sounds like from the police scanner, a medivac chopper is heading to Virginia Tech.

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From Virginia Tech's website:

Shooter's status remains unknown; visitors advised to stay away from campus.

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.

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@ CollegiateTimes : Squires is still on lockdown. Water is being distributed to everyone here.

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From Virginia Tech's website:

Media briefing to be held at Schott Media Room in Lane Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

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The university's website has been down on and off in the past half hour.

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Watch above or at this link.

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Via Twitter feed of Virginia Tech sophomore, Michael Morrison

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Strange timing. Virginia Tech's police chief testified in DC today about how the school handled the 2007 shooting. The university is facing charges of failure to issue a timely warning and failure to follow its own procedures for providing notification.

After two Virginia Tech students were shot in their dormitory on April 16, 2007, there were no immediate signs of an additional safety threat on campus, the school's police chief said Thursday.

But more shootings did follow that morning, leaving a total of 33 people dead. The Education Department has fined the university ,000 in connection with its response to the rampage, a penalty that Virginia Tech is contesting before an administrative law judge.

The department says the school violated the law by waiting more than two hours after the dorm shootings before sending an email warning. By then, student gunman Seung-Hui Cho was chaining the doors to a classroom building where he killed 30 more people and then himself.

The department says the email was too vague because it mentioned only a "shooting incident," not the deaths.

The police chief, Wendell Flinchum, testified on the second day of the hearing that the evidence indicated the dorm violence was a domestic shooting and the assailant probably had fled.

Read the whole story here.

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The @CollegiateTimes, an independent student newspaper covering Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, is live-tweeting what is happening on campus.

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@ LeroneNRV : police continue to scramble on campus. police dogs now involved

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This statement was just released:

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 8, 2011 – Shortly after noon 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

The status of the shooter is unknown. The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.

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