UPDATE: December 9, 2011 12:20pm
Virginia State Police confirmed today that a second body found in a parking lot only half a mile from the location where Virginia Tech Officer Deriek Crouse was shot and killed yesterday, belongs to the shooter. Police confirmed he was not a Virginia Tech student and had no connection with the university.
Corinne Geller, spokesperson for State Police, said that the second victim suffered a self inflicted wound, but would not elaborate any further on the crime scene. She said, however, that after ballistic evidence was collected and analyzed from both crime scenes, she confirmed that both officer Crouse and the male suspect were both killed by the same weapon, a handgun, which was found near the suspect’s body.
Geller said police found a backpack that contained clothing and an ID outside a building between the two crime scenes.
According to eye witnesses, the suspect who fled on foot in the direction of “the cage” parking lot, after shooting officer Crouse, was wearing the same clothes that were later found in the backpack. Geller said that the suspect was wearing a different top and headgear when he was found.
While State Police said there was no connection between the shooter and officer Crouse, Geller said that there is a “likelihood” that the shooter is connected to a stolen vehicle in Radford. The vehicle has been recovered, but she did not comment further.
Officer Crouse, a father of five, was still in his vehicle when he was shot and was not able to return fire, said Geller. The suspect’s body is undergoing autopsy at the Roanoke medical examiner. â€¨
A candlelight vigil is planned for tonight at 6:30pm at Virginia Tech‘s Drillfield and a memorial fund has been created to support Officer Crouse’s family.
Check back for more updates and follow us on Twitter at @cvillenews_desk.
A Virginia Tech police officer was shot and killed by a gunman while conducting a routine traffic stop yesterday at the Cassell Coliseum parking lot. Another person was later found shot to death in a nearby parking lot. According to State Police, both victims were shot with the same weapon, but they would not confirm that the second body was the shooter’s.
Sgt. Robert Carpentieri of State Police said the shooter had no relationship with the driver of the car that was pulled over, but could not say whether the officer had been targeted or ambushed. Police have identified the officer as Deriek W. Crouse, 39, of Christiansburg. He was a four-year veteran of campus police.
More after the photo.
Deriek W. Crouse, 39, was shot and killed in yesterday’s shooting at Virginia Tech. (Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech)
In a press conference minutes after the university lockdown was lifted yesterday afternoon, Virginia Tech Police and State Police tried to reconstruct the day’s events but would not confirm whether the shooter had been identified.
The Associated Press, however, reported that an anonymous law enforcement officer close to the case believed the shooter was dead.
According to Virginia Tech, the gunman “fled that crime scene in the direction of a second crime scene a quarter of a mile away, where a male body was found at that location with a gunshot wound.” State Police said a weapon had been recovered near the second crime scene. Reports of additional gun shots were investigated and considered unfounded, said police.
The university described the suspect as a white male with gray sweat pants, gray hat with a green neon brim, a maroon hooded sweatshirt, and a backpack.
State Police are saying that there is “still a possibility” that the shooter is involved in a robbery that happened in Radford last night, but that the matter is still under investigation. Earlier in the day yesterday, State Police closed the rest area on I-81 North near exit 107 at Radford because of “suspicious” activities.
“Our hearts are broken again,” said Virginia Tech President Charles Steger is reference to the 2007 shooting that left 32 dead, including gunman Seung-Hui Cho. Steger said that the loss of any human life “is a tremendous tragedy” and that today’s tragedy “brings back some difficult memories from the past.”
Today’s shooting came on the same day that Virginia Tech officials went to the nation’s capital to appeal the $55,000 fine that the university was assigned for failing to send out campus alerts in a timely manner.