BLACKSBURG, Va. (CBSNewYork/AP) – About 150 students gathered silently for a candlelight vigil at Virginia Tech after a police officer was gunned down and the shooter apparently killed himself on campus.
Though the official candlelight vigil was moved to Friday evening, many turned out anyway to show their support. One student came forward to invite everyone back for Friday night’s event. He shouted, “Let’s go!” The crowd responded, “Hokies!”
Authorities said a police officer and another person were shot and killed on the school’s campus Thursday. After being in lockdown since about 12:37 p.m., law enforcement agencies determined around 4:30 p.m. that there was no longer an active threat and that normal activities could resume.
The Virginia Tech police officer gunned down is being identified as Deriek W. Crouse, a 39-year-old Army veteran and father of five.
While some reports indicated the second person found is believed to be the shooter, a State Police official would not confirm that during an afternoon news conference.
Investigators were still processing the crime scene and officials said a weapon has been recovered.
According to the school’s website, the officer stopped a vehicle on campus just after noon Thursday in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.
During the traffic stop, officials say the officer was shot and killed. The suspect then took off on foot toward a parking lot on campus, where the body of a second victim was found, the school said.
However, police said it appears that the shooter was not in the car that was pulled over.
“We express our sorrow to those who are mourning the loss of life and extend our thoughts to President Steger at Virginia Tech and to that community,” said Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor on the House floor.
On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a Va. Tech senior, killed 32 people in two separate attacks several hours apart. He then shot himself on the Virginia Tech campus.
The school said on its website that all final exams scheduled for Friday have been postponed.
Students from all around the country are enrolled at Virginia Tech, but according to the school’s website, New York and New Jersey are among the top five home states of freshmen attending the school in the class of 2015.
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