The two casualties include a police officer. The school didn't confirm whether the other was a student, but police found a gun next to him. Officials spoke in condition of anonymity to the press said they believe the gunman has died. It is not immediately clear whether they believe the second victim was the gunman, as the police refused to confirm that. Both victims' names have been held by the authorities.
Law enforcement officers work to clean the road at the site where a Virginia Tech police police officer was shot and killed at Virginia Tech University Blacksburg, Virginia December 8, 2011. A gunman ambushed and killed a campus police officer and was later reported to have been found dead on Thursday at Virginia Tech University, the site of one of the worst shooting rampages in U.S. history. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
The shooting occurred at a routine campus traffic stop. According to the school, shortly after 12 p.m. local time, a school police officer stopped a vehicle on campus in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.
During the traffic stop, the officer was shot and killed. According to Robert Carpentieri of the State Police, the officer was not shot by occupants of the car he stopped, but by another person who walked up to him during the traffic stop.
Witnesses reported to police the shooter fled on foot heading toward the Cage, a parking lot nearby. At that parking lot, a second person was found dead.
Several law enforcement agencies have responded to assist. Virginia State police has been requested to take lead in the investigation. The school is in lockdown, and all transit services have been suspended.
As authorities search for the gunman, the school advised the campus community to shelter in place and asked visitors not to come to campus. Schools in Montgomery County, where Virginia Tech is located, have all been locked down. Police SWAT teams in full combat gear swarmed the campus, and conducted floor to floor searches in school buildings.
According to the school, the suspect is described as white male, wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, maroon hoodie and a backpack.
The lockdown was lifted later in the afternoon, the school said "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place."
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said later he was pleased with the on-campus response and notifications.
Seung-Hui Cho, a student of Virginia Tech, on April 16, 2007, killed 32 people before taking his own life. It was the worst school shooting in U.S. history. The school's notification system, which was criticized as inadequate, later went through a major makeover.