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Virginia Tech gunman legally purchased handgun, police say

December 14, 2011 |  4:22 pm

The man who gunned down a Virginia Tech police officer last week did so with a legally purchased handgun, police say.

Ross T. Ashley, 22, purchased the .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon in January and then used it to kill officer Deriek W. Crouse, 39, according to the Virginia State Police. Authorities did not reveal the dealers' name. Ashley later turned the gun on himself, taking his own life.

Nearly one week after the shooting triggered a campuswide lockdown and nationwide media interest, a motive remains unclear. Investigators said they have found no link between Crouse, an Army veteran and married father of five, and Ashley, a part-time student at nearby Radford University.

Photos: Virginia Tech shooting

"Despite investigators' nonstop pursuit of this case, there still remains no prior connection or contact between Ashley and Officer Crouse," the statement said.

The murder-suicide has hit Virginia Tech and the surrounding community particularly hard. The campus remains the site of the deadliest U.S. mass shooting and continues to heal from that tragedy. It occurred when a mentally disturbed man walked on campus in April 2007 and killed 32 people before taking his own life.

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

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