NoVa Reacts to News of Virginia Tech Shootings

The campus returns to normal following Thursday's deadly events.

4:34 p.m. Another update from VT: "Law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."

Follow continuing updates here. 

4:27 p.m. Virginia Tech sent out the following update: "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."

4:17 p.m. NBC News is reporting the second victim is believed to be the shooter. 

4:10 p.m. A statement from Gov. 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.”

3:45 p.m. Heart-wrenching stories from students continue to come in this afternoon. Natalie Leake, a 2010 graduate, had just gone to lunch on campus following a swim team practice. 

"We were inside eating from around 11:30 to 12:30 and as we were walking out, that's when everything started happening," said Leake, a current VT sophomore. She and her friends saw about 15 police cars that had circled around the area. As they were taking took a detour around the parking lot where the officer was shot, they saw cones and caution tape. 

"We thought it was a car crash…the last thing we thought was that it was a shooting," Leake said. "We saw the body and then later a sheet being put on top."

They couldn't tell if the person was dead or not initially, but thought it might have been a car crash, she said. 

"We were like hysterical in the car," Leake said, describing the fear the students felt after learning what had happened. "It was just really frightening—the fact that we had been in the same parking lot. If we had left just a few minutes sooner, we might have been in there right as it happened."

Leake immediately went to her off-campus residence, locked the doors and pulled down the window shades and started watching the news. 

"I think in the beginning we were all just in a state of shock: why Tech? Why us again?" she said. 

"It’s frightening, just being  a student, knowing that you could be walking around campus any time, any day, and you don’t know what the person next to you might do."

3:30 p.m. update: 

Virginia Tech parent and Herndon Patch columnist, Nancy Loughin, said once she found out her son David, a fifth-year senior at Virginia Tech, was safe she felt relieved but feels for the students and staff at the school.

“His first thought was, ‘Oh no, not again,’” Loughin, a Herndon resident, said. For a campus that has endured so much, this is hard, she said. “From a parent point of view, golly, my heart just breaks for the family of that police officer,” she said.

Loughin said her son and his friends went to the first places they could think of where they knew friends would be and they would be safe and won’t be coming out until the police and university say its all clear. He told her police and SWAT teams are everywhere on the campus. 

"I was scared and concerned when i couldn't reach my brother after I realized he was in the student center and there were reports of lots of police activity there," said Manassas resident Sam Klemz, a Ballston Patch contributor, whose brother is a sophomore at VT. "He eventually got through on a friend's phone to let me know he was fine."

3:15 p.m. update: Exams scheduled for Friday have been postponed.

A decision regarding the final exam schedule has not yet been determined. Information will be sent to students via campuswide email and posted to the university's homepage.

Update 2:50 p.m. Cell phone towers are reportedly jammed in the Blacksburg area and students are having trouble making phone calls.  Text messages are arriving on a delay, according to students there. 

graduate Isabella Lacsamana was in her dorm room in Main Eggleston Hall when the first shots were fired. She said that she received numerous alerts from the university to stay indoors. 

"I flashed back to when I saw the news of the shooting the first time," Lacsamana said. "The first time I heard it was happening, I was just hoping it wasn't happening again."

Update 1:55 p.m. Two people are now dead after shots were fired at Virginia Tech early Thursday afternoon, the university said.

Virginia Tech released the following statement:

"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."

Virginia Tech's website reports a gunman is at-large on campus.

The site is reporting a police officer has been shot, along with a potential second victim.

The first alert went out at 12:37 p.m., reporting shots had been fired in Coliseum Parking lot.

In an alert sent at 12:47 p.m., the school offered a description: white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. He is traveling on foot.

Updates can be found here: http://www.vt.edu/. Family of Virginia Tech students can call 540-231-3787 for information.

Patch will update as more information becomes available.


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