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Friday
Dec092011

Virginia Tech Shooter was Not a Student, Police Say

Jared Soares/Getty Images(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- The suspected gunman in the ambush of a Virginia Tech police officer was not a student of the university, a Virginia Tech spokesman said Friday.

The shooter killed Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse and then the man believed to be the gunman was found dead in a nearby parking lot.

"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," Corinne Geller of the Virginia State Police said at a news conference Friday morning.

"We know who this person is," Geller said, but won't release his identity until next of kin are notified.

Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the ambush. Very few details about the gunman have been released.

"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."

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

There are indications that Crouse was targeted by the gunman. Geller said there was a, "likelihood he is connected to a stolen vehicle from Radford," that the shooter used to get to the campus. Radford is about 18 miles from the Virginia Tech campus.

Blacksburg police also recovered a discarded backpack with clothing in it that seemed to match the original description of what the gunman was wearing, leading authorities to believe that the gunman changed his clothes after shooting Crouse and was part of a plan to escape. Early Friday, officials confirmed that Crouse and the suspected gunman were killed by the same handgun.

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.

Crouse, 39, of Christiansburg, Va., was a four-year veteran of the force and father of five.

Crouse joined the school's police force in 2007 and was trained as a crisis intervention officer and firearms instructor. He 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.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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