Virginia Tech gunman identified as Ross Truett Ashley
Ross Truett Ashley, a Radford University student, has been identified as the gunman who shot a Virginia Tech police officer and then turned the gun on himself.
Ross Truett Ashley, 22, killed Deriek Crouse on Thursday after he had stolen a car the day before from a real estate office in Radford, which was found on the Virginia Tech campus after the attack, officials says.
Police have managed to piece together his last movements but not his motive.
According to police, Ross Truett Ashley, who was enrolled part-time at Radford, entered a real estate office with a handgun and demanded the keys to an employee’s vehicle.
The vehicle, a Mercedes SUV, was found the next day on Virginia Tech’s campus following the shooting.
According to police, Ross Truett Ashley shot Deriek Crouse while the officer was sitting in his car at about 12:15 EST on Thursday, before fleeing on foot.
Ross Truett Ashley’s body was found in a nearby car park by a police officer. He had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Investigators have so far found no link between the gunman and Deriek Crouse, a married father of five and 39-year-old army veteran.
Virginia Tech was the site of the deadliest US school shooting in the country’s history, in 2007, when a gunman killed 32 people and himself.
About 150 students gathered in a candlelight vigil on Thursday evening at the campus memorial for the shootings of four years ago.
“Our hearts are broken again,” the university president, Charles W. Steger, said.
An official vigil was planned on Friday night.
Deriek Crouse was one of about 50 officers on the campus force and had served there for four years, joining about six months after the 2007 massacre.
Thirty-two people died in April 2007 when a 23-year-old South Korean, Seung-Hui Cho, went on a gun rampage before killing himself.
Deriek Crouse’s death came on the same day Virginia Tech appealed against a $55,000 fine imposed by the government for not reacting quickly enough to the 2007 massacre.
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