A campus police officer and a man are dead after a shooting around noon on Thursday on the campus of Virginia Tech University, the scene of the deadliest school shooting in the US when a student, Seung-Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people before killing himself in 2007.
The police officer was shot during what is being described as a routine traffic stop in a parking lot near McComas Hall, a gym and sports building. The gunman was then seen running towards a different parking lot called the Cage and the campus was put on lockdown around 1:00 pm; everyone was told to “seek shelter or stay where you are.” Schools in Montgomery County were also placed on lockdown.
Around 4:30 pm, a man who had been shot dead was found at the parking lot called the Cage. A weapon was also found in the parking lot. At about the same time, university officials said there was “no longer an active threat” on the campus and lifted the lockdown.
At a news conference this afternoon, officials would not confirm whether the second man found dead was the shooter.
After the 2007 attack, Virginia Tech was fined $55,000 by the Department of Education for waiting too long to notify students about the attack. Today — the same day of another attack — the campus police chief and other university officials were in Washington to appeal the fine.
Ed Falco, the director of creative writing at Virginia Tech, was one of twelve professors locked in his office at Shanks Hall during the lockdown. Noting that he had been off campus during the 2007 shooting, Falco was at home on Thursday when the campus message system sent out an alert.
He said that because previous alerts had been prompted by backfiring trucks and other false alarms that he decided to come to school for an appointment. “I figured this would be the same thing, and came to campus anyway,” he said. “I’m fine, but along with everyone else, this brings back very bad memories and bad associations. That this is actually happening is unbelievable.”
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