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Virginia Tech shootings: Two killed, suspect at large

December 8, 2011 | 11:12 am

A suspect remained at large Thursday afternoon on the campus of Virginia Tech after a police officer and at least one other person were shot dead, the university said.

During a traffic stop on campus, the suspect shot and killed a Virginia Tech police officer and then fled on foot through a nearby parking lot.

A second person was later found dead in that parking lot, the university said.

PHOTOS: Virginia Tech shooting

The university said the status of the shooter was unknown and the school remained on lockdown.

A university alert released after the shooting described the possible shooter as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with a neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.

The campus is the site of the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, and the tragedy led to widespread security changes on campus and at other institutions nationwide.

The April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech left 33 people dead, including the gunman, Seung-hui Cho, who turned his weapon on himself before authorities could capture him.

Cho, 23, fired more than 100 shots at his 32 victims, many of whom were crouched in defensive positions at the time they were killed. The university faced widespread criticism and fines in the wake of the shooting. Critics said the university waited two hours after the first bullets were fired -- and two students were killed -- to issue a campuswide alert. Less than half an hour after an alert was finally emailed, 30 others were slain elsewhere on campus by the same gunman.

Cho had been detained previously by campus police investigating allegations that he was stalking female students, and was held at a nearby private mental health facility. He was deemed to be an "imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness" but Cho still ended back on campus.

Here are posts from the university's Twitter feed, @VTnews:

“Gun shots reported- Coliseum Parking lot. Stay Inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.” That was quickly followed by “Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas. Call 911”

And then several minutes after that: “A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place.”

ALSO:

Virginia Tech shooting: Lockdown lifted, weapon found

Virginia Tech shooting: 'We are looking absolutely everywhere'

Virginia Tech shooting: 2007 massacre led to changes nationwide

-- Stephen Ceasar and Rene Lynch

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