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2 shot and killed on Virginia Tech campus

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 09, 2011
and last updated 2011-12-09 13:53:11-05

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, VA (WTVR) – The lockdown at Virginia Tech has been lifted after a police officer and another person were shot and killed Thursday afternoon on  campus.

The Associated Press reports the second victim, described as a white male, is the gunman who shot and killed a campus police officer. Officials said a weapon was found nearby.

The school’s website said law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat. As a result, normal activities were allowed to resume and the lockdown was lifted.

It could take several days or even weeks for police to complete their investigation.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Bob Carpentieri said these are large crime scenes. It will take several hours to put the puzzle pieces together, physical evidence must be collected and witnesses interviewed, he said.

Virginia Tech News and Information Director Mark Owczarski said a campus police officer stopped a vehicle during a routine traffic stop around noon. [BONUS: Updated statements from Virginia Tech on shooting]

That is when a man, which officials say was not related to the traffic stop, approached the officer’s car and opened fire in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Halls.

The officer, a four-year Virginia Tech’s Police Department veteran, was assigned to the patrol division.

One student told a reporter that she was coming out of the gym when she spotted the unmarked police car. She said she heard sirens, but kept walking toward the car since she was on the way to her apartment.

“Then they opened his car door – when they opened it, he fell out to the ground and they immediately started trying to revive him. Then, two cops took off with automatic weapons… and started running in the opposite direction after the gunman,” the witness said. “The officer didn’t make it, because they covered him with a sheet.”

Witnesses told police the shooter took off on foot heading toward the Cage, the Duck Pond parking lot. That is where officials said the second person was found dead. [BONUS: Photos from shootings at Virginia Tech]

Additionally, there were numerous reports of what sounded like gunshots around campus. Investigators said those reports could not be substantiated.

All Montgomery County schools were also on lockdown because of the shoorings. Students were As a result, officials said students may not be home on time.

Virginia State Police took over the investigation after numerous law enforcement agencies turned up to help Virginia Tech Police.

Witnesses said officers were heavily armed at intersections and Blacksburg Transit was  suspended. Additionally, the rest area off I-81 in Radford was closed after someone spotted something suspicious.

Officials told folks on campus to shelter in place and advised visitors to stay off campus.

The school sent an alert around 12:30 about a shooting in the Coliseum parking lot. It told folks should stay inside and secure doors.

The school also tweeted a description of the suspect:

“Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas. Call 911.”

Owczarski told reporters the school’s emergency notification systems function properly. He said the school issued multiple alerts via social networking sites, email and text messaging. Officials also sounded a siren on campus after the incident.

As soon the messages became more frequent, the campus looked deserted as many students holed up inside buildings or headed for thome.

Owczarski said no classes were scheduled Thursday since it was a reading day. This day is set aside to let students study and prep for finals. Exams, which were slated to begin Friday, have been postponed.

A mass shooting at Virginia Tech in April of 2007 left 25 wounded and 32 other students and faculty members dead.