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Saturday
Dec102011

Alleged Virginia Tech Shooter Identified

Virginia State Police(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- Police have identified Ross Truett Ashley as the alleged gunman who fatally shot a Virginia Tech police officer before killing himself about 30 minutes later.

There is no known connection between the officer, who was ambushed on campus Thursday, and Ashley, 22, of Partlow, Va., police said Friday.

But there is evidence that the shooter went to some lengths to assassinate Officer Deriek Crouse. Ashley stole a white 2011 Mercedes SUV from a real estate office in the city of Radford Wednesday, according to Radford City Police. The Mercedes was stolen at gunpoint at about 11:25 a.m.

The SUV was located the next day, Thursday, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Officer Crouse later stopped a car and was seated inside his unmarked patrol car when Ashley fatally shot him, police allege. Ashley escaped on foot and changed out of his wool cap and pullover top, police said.

At least part of the deadly encounter that rattled the campus Thursday was captured on Crouse's dash-cam and since the Virginia Tech officers are also "miked," so there was likely audio of the encounter.

"We know who this person is," Corinne Geller of the Virginia State Police said at a news conference Friday morning.

Authorities have yet to identify a motive for the ambush.

"At this time we have made no connection that the shooter and Officer Crouse knew each other at the time of the shooting," Geller said.

She also said, "We are very confident that he was the only individual involved in this."

Determining a motive for the ambush, Geller said, is "the fundamental part of the investigation right now."

Crouse, who was ambushed as he sat in his police car, was not able to return fire, Geller said. He died at the scene.

The gunman was spotted later by an officer acting suspiciously in a campus garage, but by the time the officer reached the suspect he was dead.

"We found him laying on the ground and he had suffered what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the handgun was found nearby," Geller said.

The shooting came almost five years after the deadly massacre at the Blacksburg, Va., school, when Seung Hui-Cho killed 32 other people before killing himself.

A candlelight vigil also took place Friday on Drillfield. An impromptu vigil was held Thursday night.

Fall term final exams that were originally scheduled to begin Friday will start Saturday instead, school officials said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio