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.
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
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.
Virginia Tech campus is on lockdown after two people – including a police officer – are shot dead by a crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage this afternoon.
According to Virginia Tech, a police officer pulled someone over for a routine traffic stop and was shot and killed. The ganman ran toward a nearby parking lot, where he gunned down the second victim, believed to be a student.
Montgomery County Schools are now on lockdown, sparking fears the gunman may have left the campus.
Virginia Tech campus is on lockdown after two people - including a police officer - are shot dead by a crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage this afternoon
The suspect was described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.
TV footage showed heavily armed officers walking around campus. Caravans of SWAT vehicles and other police cars with emergency lights flashing patrolled nearby as students remained on lockdown.
Police were tracking several white males on campus who fit the description but it was unclear if any of them were the suspect.
It was the first shooting on campus since 33 people were killed in 2007 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
FBI agents were called to the Performance Arts Building where they believed the gunman was hiding, but it turned out to be a false alarm as a student wearing similar clothes surrendered.
A SWAT team was placed at the Squires Student Centre but left after finding no suspicious persons inside.
Senior Virginia Tech police and university officials were all in Washington DC today to appeal the $55,000 fine for the way they handled the 2007 shooting.
Police are investigating if an armed robbery in the area which occurred at 11:25 a.m. is related.
Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski held a news conference and told reporters they have all hands on deck and are dealing with the situation in the most efficient, effective way possible. He told all students to stay inside and keep doors locked.
The university issued a statement saying: “Shortly after noon today, a Virginia Tech police officer stopped a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.
“During the traffic stop, the officer was shot and killed. There were witnesses to this shooting.
“Witnesses reported to police the shooter fled on foot heading toward the Cage, a parking lot near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person was found. That person is also deceased.
“Several law enforcement agencies have responded to assist. Virginia State Police has been requested to take lead in the investigation.
“The status of the shooter is unknown. The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.”
The shooting came the same day as Virginia Tech was appealing a $55,000 fine by the U.S. Education Department in connection with the university’s response to the 2007 rampage, when a student gunman killed 32 students and faculty and then shot himself.
A report of a possible gunman at Virginia Tech on August 4 set off the longest, most extensive lockdown and search on campus since the 2007 bloodbath led the university to overhaul its emergency procedures.
No gunman was found, and the school gave the all-clear about five hours after sirens began wailing and students and staff members started receiving warnings by phone, email and text message to lock themselves indoors.
Alerts were also posted on the university’s website and Twitter accounts.
The emergency was triggered by three teens who were attending a summer programme on campus and told police they saw a man walking quickly across the grounds with what might have been a handgun covered by a cloth, authorities said.
Police searched some 150 buildings on the square-mile campus and issued a composite sketch of a baby-faced man who was said to be wearing shorts and sandals, but they found no sign of him. They continued to patrol the grounds as a precaution even after the lockdown was lifted.
“We’re in a new era. Obviously this campus experienced something pretty terrible four years ago,” Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said at the time.
“Regardless of what your intuition and your experience as a public safety officer tells you, you are really forced to issue an alert.”
That incident marked the first time the entire campus was locked down since the 2007 shooting, and the second major test of Virginia Tech’s improved emergency alert system.
The system was revamped to add the use of text messages and other means besides email of warning students.
It was also put to the test in 2008, when an exploding nail gun cartridge was mistaken for gunfire. But only one dorm was locked down during that emergency, and it reopened two hours later.
Virginia Tech has opened a student help line on (540) 231-3787 and a police tip line on (540) 231-6411.
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech campus lockdown was lifted Thursday afternoon after a thorough police search for a person carrying a gun was not successful. The police released a press statement at 3:15pm about the Virginia Tech armed gun man.
Precisely the same Virginia Tech campus was the scene of the most harmful mass killing by a solitary gunman in U.S. history – the April 16, 2007, firing spree by Seung-Hui Cho which killed 33 individuals and injured 25 other people prior to the gunman committing suicide.
This time Virginia Tech responded extremely fast so as not to be criticized for reacting too slow, like it happened in the last case.
“Person with gun reported near Dietrick. Stay inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.”
“The campus alert is lifted. There will continue to be a large police presence on campus today,” the Virginia Tech Newswebsite said in a notice posted at 2:41 p.m. “Police have not received nor discovered additional information about a person possibly carrying a weapon beyond that reported this morning.”
Police released this sketch of the man they believe might have been seen carrying a handgun on campus. (Source: Virginia Tech Website)
The 2,600-acre campus, was locked down completely at 9:37 a.m. after three teenage girls informed the law enforcement authorities they had spotted a suspect man wondering on campus carrying what appeared to be a weapon covered by a cloth or covering of some sort. The girs were attending a Higher Achievement Program camp on campus. [googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]
“He was walking fast in the direction of the volleyball courts. He was wearing a blue and white striped shirt (stripes were vertical), gray shorts and brown sandals. The subject had no facial hair or glasses.”, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.
Virginia Tech Lockdown - Larry Hincker - associate VP for University Press Relations
“Out of an abundance of caution,” as Larry Hincker, associate VP for University press relations, put it, the university asked students and employees to stay inside and secure doors. For the rest of the day classes were canceled.
Police officers checked the grounds and discovered nobody fitting that description.
“They gave us a good description. We felt it was best course of action to issue a campus alert,” Flinchum said.
“I think the girls believed what they reported. The officers believed they (the girls) believed what was reported and that’s the information they went with.”
Flinchum informed us the witnesses reported seeing the suspect near Dietrick Hall, a three-story dining facility. This facility is very close to the dorm where the mass shootings happened in 2007.
Richard Tagle, Higher Achievement CEO, mentioned several 9 to 14 teens were on campus for the camp and Thursday was the final day.
Flinchum commented that the police did not receive any additional sightings of the guy. [googlead tip=”lista_mare”]
Virginia Tech Lockdown Dietrich Hall
Virginia Tech’s Website was very informative throughout the whole situation, continually updating people on campus. The University was fined by the federal authorities in Match after a court ruling that administrator violated campus safety laws by waiting too long to inform the employees and the students that there was a probable threat after the first two students were killed in 2007. The killings took place in West Ambler Johnston Hall, which is a dormitory facility near the dining hall.
Virginia Tech University waited more than two hours before sending out an email that day, at the same time Cho – the killer – was already chaining the door shut for a classroom building where he killed an additional 30 students and himself.
There was also an alert in 2008, when a cartridge coming from a nail gun made some sounds similar to gunfire, again near the dormitory. This was the first time the new alert system was activated after the shooting in 2007. This system includes sending text messages and emails as well as other methods to warn the students and faculty members of potential danger.
It’s not illegal to carry a gun on campus grounds. “A public university generally cannot prohibit open or concealed carry of a firearm on campus grounds,” Virginia attorney general’s office said. Any university can ban the carrying of guns inside campus buildings or at public events. Virginia Tech University and other universities cannot ban gun owners who have valid permits for carrying a concealed gun, even inside campus buildings.
“This campus experienced something terrible 4 years ago,”
Campus spokesman, Larry Hincker said at a press conference.
“Strictly as an abundance of caution we are going to keep the campus under alert status and ask people to stay indoors.”
9:09 a.m – Three students attending the “Higher Achievement” camp at the Blacksburg, VA, campus reported seeing a man holding what seems to be a handgun, according to Virgnia Tech Police Chief ,Wendell Flinchum.
Virginia Tech is on lockdown today with reports of an armed man on the campus
“The juveniles were interviewed…officers confirming that there information is credible and at that point we decided to issue the alert,” Flinchum said.
“We have not had any further reported sightings. We have not had any reports of anyone suspicious or anyone that fits this description.”
The man was described by police as 6” tall, light brown hair and was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, gray shorts and brown sandals. He did not have facial hair or glasses. In addition, police said that the campers told them the man was shielding the gun with a cloth. Flinchum also said that the man was not pointing or shooting the weapon.
Students received text messages and emails that an armed man is on the campus:
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]”Person with a gun reported near Dietrick. Stay inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.”.
9:37 a.m.: A message was posted on the university’s web site alerting students that there was a gunman near Dietrick Hall. Dietrick Hall is a three floors building, more than 92,000 square foot dining facility on the campus. Students have been adviced to stay indoors.
“Even the construction zone has come to a halt. The whole construction crew is gone. There is no traffic, no movement, no anything,”Virginia Tech communications officer Lynn Davis told CNN soon after the alert was issued.
Some of the professors who were conducting classes at the time of alert have kept their students in their classrooms.
Virginia Tech police are working with several surrounding police units including the Virginia State Police, the Blacksburg Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for campus surveillance.
Summer classes are in session at the campus during this period. Campus spokesman Hincker estimated that a few thousand students are currently on the site. Students begin fall semester check-in on August 17 with fall classes starting August 22.
[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”stanga”] April 2007: student Seung-Hui Cho, 23 year-old, shot and killed 32 students.
He wounded 25 others in the shooting rampage and that was the worst school shooting in U.S. history.
Cho had alarmed professors with his writings and was ordered to see a university psychologist.
Prior to the rampage, Cho had sent a multimedia letters, pictures and video to NBC News detailing his violent intention and delusional thinking.
His rampage spanned hours and involved two separate attacks. The shooting sparked a debate about the university’s system to alert students. At the beginning of this year, Virginia Tech was fined $55,000 for violating a federal law by waiting too long to notify students that an armed man was on the campus during the 2007 shooting.