By Liz Goodwin
A police officer has been shot and killed on Virginia Tech’s campus during a routine traffic stop, according to the university. A second victim was found dead at another campus parking lot. The suspect is described as a white male wearing a maroon hoodie, and is still on the loose. The shootings occurred shortly after noon.
Students are asked to stay indoors for now as hundreds of police officers are searching and securing campus buildings and public areas.
“We’re looking absolutely everywhere for the person who fits the description,” Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech spokesman, said at a press conference today. Students are not in class today because exams were set to tomorrow, he said. Those exams are now postponed. “It’s a very tragic day.”
Lerone Graham, a reporter for local newspaper the Roanoke Times reports via Twitter that, “students scarce now around campus; sirens sounding constantly.” Reports of more gunshots on campus are unfounded, however, the university says.
In 2007, a Virginia Tech student killed 32 people and himself during a shooting rampage.
Virginia Tech began the appeals process for a $55,000 federal fine levied for its handling of the 2007 shooting spree this week in Washington. The government says the university did not warn students that a shooter was on the loose in a timely manner, which is in violation of a safe campus law known as the 1990 Clery Act. The parents of two wounded Tech students said their children would have stayed indoors and avoided injury if the school had notified them, according to the Roanake Times. The school argues that it complied with the law.
Tech upgraded its security system after the 2007 shooting. Owczarski said Tech’s alerts system can reach students via text message, email, classroom electronic message boards, and campus sirens. Students were alerted about the shooting today soon after it happened.