Entries in Virginia tech shooting (5)


Virginia Tech Commemorates Fifth Anniversary of Shootings

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- Five years ago on April 16, 2007, a Virginia Tech student went on a shooting rampage throughout the campus, killing 32 people before taking his own life.  It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

On Monday, the university and Virginia mark the fifth anniversary of the tragedy with a statewide moment of silence at 9:43 a.m. ET, the time of the shooting in the classroom building.

Monday is also the first time in five years that classes will be held on April 16.

Gunman Seung-Hui Cho first shot two people dead in a dorm before heading to the classroom building where 30 others were gunned down.  He then committed suicide before he could be taken into custody.

After all this time, the motivations of Cho, who showed signs of being unstable before the shootings, remain unknown.

Last month, a jury ruled that Virginia Tech was negligent in how it failed to initially warn students about the shootings on its campus, awarding two families that sued $4 million each, although the judge said the awards should be capped at $100,000.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech and other universities across the country have since created or improved emergency notification systems to alert students of danger through emails, text messages and social media.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Virginia Tech Hosts Slain Police Officer’s Funeral Monday

Jared Soares/Getty Images(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- A funeral will be held on the campus of Virginia Tech Monday for school police officer Deriek Crouse, who law enforcement sources say was shot to death last Thursday by a gunman who then killed himself.

Crouse’s funeral will be held at Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum.  Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will attend the funeral, along with law enforcement personnel from around the region.

The slain officer's wife, Tina Crouse, told the Roanoke Times her husband texted “love you lots” moments before the shooting.  She told the newspaper, “Someone took our life from us.”

Law enforcement investigators have identified 22-year-old Ross Ashley as the shooter.  Ashley was a part-time business major at Radford University in Virginia.

Matt Dailey, a Radford University student who considered Ashley his best friend, told the Roanoke Times he had accompanied Ashley two or three times to a shooting range near Blacksburg, but that was months ago.

Dailey told the newspaper he, “didn’t see this coming.”  He described Ashley as withdrawn, but added that he, “was definitely off in some ways,” but not necessarily any more off than other folks.

No motive has been given for the shooting, but the Virginia State Police say their investigation into the case continues.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two Killed in Virginia Tech Were Shot by Same Gun

Jared Soares/Getty Images(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- The Virginia Tech University police officer who was shot by a gunman on the school's campus along with a second person who was found dead were killed by the same handgun, officials said early Friday.

Virginia State Police said that ballistics tests confirmed and "officially linked the two fatal shootings" that left Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek W. Crouse and a second victim dead on Thursday, authorities said in a news release.

The incident is the deadliest shooting at the Blacksburg, Va., school since 2007, when Seung Hui-Cho killed 32 other people before killing himself.

Crouse, 39, of Christiansburg, Va. was shot and killed while performing a routine traffic stop when someone walked up to the officer's car and shot him.

Crouse, a father of five, joined the school's police force in 2007 and was trained as a crisis intervention officer and firearms instructor and was a member of the Virginia Tech Police Emergency Response Team, according to officials.  Crouse was also a U.S. Army veteran and worked at the New River Valley Jail and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, officials said.

Police said they believe this is the first time a Virginia Tech officer has been shot in the line of duty.

A candlelight vigil has been planned for Friday night on Drillfield, while an impromptu vigil was held Thursday night.

On Thursday, police declined to say directly that the second shooting victim was the gunman, but said "no additional victims or shooting reports have been given to the police" since the second person was shot.

"I think the investigators feel confident that we've located the person, but I don't want to give you specifics," Virginia State Police Sgt. Robert Carpentieri said at a news conference Thursday.  "You can kind of read between the lines."

The identity of the second victim has not yet been released and officials said the motive is currently unknown and under investigation.

Officials are also reviewing Crouse's dash-cam footage that showed the "subject with a handgun at the officer’s car at the time of the shooting," according to the news release, which also said that clothing found in a backpack found by police "is similar to the clothing worn by the male subject in the officer's video."

The suspect was described as a white male wearing a gray sweatpants, a gray hat with a neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and a backpack.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Virginia Tech Shooting: Students Feared 'Throwback' to 2007 Massacre

Jared Soares/Getty Images(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- In Hokie Nation, the phrase "April 16" is used in the same way most people speak of Sept. 11.  It's shorthand for the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

It was mentioned a lot on Thursday, as the midday killing of a Virginia Tech police officer, and a subsequent campus lockdown, instantly triggered thoughts of the massacre that took place there on April 16, 2007.  Students were ordered to stay indoors and alerted to the dangers of a gunman on the loose, provoking fears of the worst.

"It was really hard, having kind of a throwback to April 16," said Ben Amos of Fairfax, Va., a member of the senior class.

But Amos, like most current Tech students, can only imagine what it was like when Seung Hui-Cho went on a shooting rampage there in 2007, killing 32 other people before committing suicide.

Now 22, Amos was in high school at the time of the shootings.  He was among the first crop of students to apply for admission to Virginia Tech in the aftermath of the bloodbath.

"I wasn't here [in 2007], but it did hit really close to home," said Jennifer Nicholson, a 19-year-old sophomore.

"Knowing that there was a gunman on the loose was just really scary," Nicholson told ABC News.  "My mom was like, 'Text me every 10 minutes to make sure you're OK.'"

By late afternoon, officials held a news conference to announce the end of the alert and the campus slowly returned to life.

Students gave police and school officials praise for the quick work to lockdown and alert the campus.

"Knowing that they responded so quickly and everything, it's just reassuring, especially to know that there are cops everywhere -- even in the big Humvees," said Nicholson.

University officials sent several alerts to students throughout the day, via text message, email and telephone calls.  Several police agencies swarmed into this small college town.

"The response at Virginia Tech after April 16 is so quick and so thorough that I knew if [the shooter] was still on campus and still around, they would definitely have found him," Amos said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Virginia Tech on High Alert After Report of 'Shots Fired'

Virginia TechUPDATE: The campus lockdown has been lifted, officials announced at an afternoon news conference.

(BLACKSBURG, Va.) – Two people, including a police officer, are dead after a shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech, and students are being urged to remain indoors as officials search for the gunman.

“Shortly after 12 p.m. today, a Virginia Tech Police officer stoped [sic] a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall,” campus spokesman Mark Owczarski said in a statement Thursday. It was during that traffic stop that the police officer was shot and killed, Owczarski said.

“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,” Owczarski said.

“Everyone should seek shelter or stay where you are," Virginia Tech's website said earlier Thursday.

The university’s website described the suspect as a “white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack.”

“Status of the shooter is unknown,” Owczarski said. “The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.”

On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the campus, killing 32 students and faculty before turning the gun on himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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