BLACKSBURG, Va. -- A man killed a police officer and another person after a traffic stop Thursday at Virginia Tech, sending a shudder through campus as students and faculty were told to stay inside and police searched for the gunman, school officials said.
It was the first gunfire on campus since 33 people were killed in 2007 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The deaths came on the same day university officials were in Washington appealing a fine that federal officials gave them over the school's response five years ago.
The campus was swarming Thursday with heavily armed officers walking around campus. Caravans of SWAT vehicles and other police cars with emergency lights flashing patrolled nearby. Students hunkered down in buildings.
"A lot of people, especially toward the beginning were scared," Brumfield said. "A lot of people are loosening up now. I guess we're just waiting it out, waiting for it to be over," said Jared Brumfield, a 19-year-old freshman from Culpeper, Va., who was locked in the Squires Student Center since around 1:30 p.m.
The school said a police officer pulled someone over for a traffic stop and was shot and killed. The shooter ran toward a nearby parking lot, where a second person was found dead.
Various alerts were sent out to students and the university is sending updates about every 30 minutes, regardless of whether they have any new information, school spokesman Mark Owczarski said.
"We deployed them all, and we deployed them immediately to get the word out," he said.
The suspect was described as a white man wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.
"It's crazy that someone would go and do something like that with all the stuff that happened in 2007," said Corey Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore from Mechanicsville, Va., who was headed to a dining hall near the site of one of the shootings.