December 8th, 2011
Nearly five years after a massacre at Virginia Tech that was the deadliest ever on a school campus, two men, including a campus police officer, died of gunshot wounds there on Thursday afternoon.
The police officer, Deriek W. Crouse, 39, of Christiansburg, Va., was shot at close range by a man who had walked up to him as he was making a traffic stop in a campus parking lot, the police said.
Officials did not identify the gunman, but in a conference call with reporters on Thursday night, Gov. Bob McDonnell and state police officers said the evidence was strong that he was the second dead man, whose body was found in a parking lot about a quarter-mile away from the traffic stop.
“We have recovered clothing items that would lead us to believe that he would be one and the same,” said Maj. Rick Jenkins, deputy director of the Virginia State Police’s bureau of investigation. But he added, “We are not in a situation to say that definitively at this point.”
The killing of Officer Crouse, an Army veteran with five children, happened around noon and was captured on video by a camera that had been mounted on his car dashboard.
Officials said they believed the gunman had acted alone in killing Officer Crouse.
Capt. George Austin of the state police said the police are still investigating whether the gunman knew Officer Crouse or the person in the car who was stopped. The police said they had been conducting tests of DNA and ballistics at a facility in nearby Roanoke and interviewing witnesses to establish the identity of the gunman.
The shooting dredged up traumatic memories of April 16, 2007, when a student, Seung-Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people before killing himself on the campus, five hours south of Washington in the western mountains of Virginia.
With that experience still vivid, an emergency notification went out on Thursday within minutes, leading to a universitywide lockdown of students and staff in campus buildings, and hundreds of police officers, some wearing body armor and carrying machine guns, hurrying to respond.
“Our hearts are broken again,” said Charles W. Steger, the president of the university.
Governor McDonnell, whose daughter is a graduate student at Virginia Tech and was in lockdown in a campus basement all day, said, “It was honestly very tragic news to receive this afternoon.”
Several Virginia Tech officials rushed back to campus after spending much of the day in Washington where, by coincidence, the university was appealing a $55,000 fine levied by the Department of Education for waiting too long to notify students after the 2007 attack.
Ed Falco, the director of creative writing at Virginia Tech, was among 12 professors locked in his office at Shanks Hall.
Mr. Falco, who was off campus during the 2007 shooting, said he had been at home on Thursday when he received the alert on the campus message system. He said that because previous alerts had been prompted by backfiring trucks and other false alarms, he decided to go to the campus for an appointment.
“I figured this would be the same thing, and came to campus anyway,” he said from inside his office. “I’m fine, but along with everyone else, this brings back very bad memories and bad associations. That this is actually happening is unbelievable.”
Mr. Falco said that there had been a state trooper parked outside the building throughout the afternoon and that the police had been inside to make sure everyone was fine.
“SWAT team called to us from a door, people were running. It was chaos,” said Hannah Nowack, a freshman. “We were herded into an entry to a room with hands on our heads, they searched us all, it was really scary. Then I realized I was in a safe place.”
The shooting occurred about 12:15 p.m., during what was described as a routine traffic stop in a parking lot near McComas Hall, a gym and sports building.
Afterward, witnesses reported seeing the suspect running toward a different parking lot, called the Cage. That is where the police said they found the second body. They said the man had been alive at first sighting and that responding officers had not shot him. A gun was found near the body, and Major Jenkins said they believed it was the same gun seen in the video that was carried by the gunman. The police did not say whether the man had been a student.
Classes were not in session on Thursday because students were preparing for final exams, but there were still thousands of students, staff and faculty members on campus at the time, officials said.
Hayley Bance, a freshman from Richmond, Va., said she was sitting with some friends in a dining area at the Squires Student Center when the building suddenly became a flurry of police activity.
“It was unreal. It just didn’t feel like it was happening on this campus,” Ms. Bance said. “Then we were told to move away from the windows and were taken upstairs. We saw these two police officers with huge guns. Then it started to feel real.”
Erika Meitner, an assistant professor of English at the university, said her 4-year-old son had been among 45 children on lockdown at a campus day care center, not far from where the shooting occurred. After nervously waiting for several hours, Ms. Meitner said her husband had gone to campus to pick up her son when the center began to release children.
She said that even though the shooting had occurred not far from Wallace Hall, where the day care is located, the children had been unaware that anything was amiss because the gunfire had occurred during their nap time.
“It’s closer than you want your child to be to this,” she said.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
Deriek W. Crouse
how he lost his heart’s desire = DE = 45 = Violence. Things went horribly wrong.
Thursday December 8th, 2011
December 8th, 2011
12 + 8 +2+0+1+1 = 24 = Virginia Tech shootings life lesson and personal year = Take charge.
24 year + 12 (December) = 36 = Virginia Tech shootings personal month = We’re crushed. Having your work cut out for you.
36 month + 8 (8th of the month on Thursday December 8th, 2011) = 44 = Virginia Tech shootings personal day = The university’s Twitter feed, @VTnews: Stay tuned. Updates.
find out your own numerology at: