- Delivering Truth Around the World
Custom Search

Shooting at Virginia Tech reopens wounds from 2007

Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

Smaller Font Larger Font RSS 2.0

Dec. 9, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech, site of the nation's deadliest school shooting less than five years ago, shuddered through a shocking reminder Thursday when deadly gunfire again tore through the university campus.

"Tragedy has again struck Virginia Tech," school President Charles Steger said. "Our hearts are broken again."

Two people were dead, one of them a campus police officer, after a gunman opened fire while the officer was conducting a traffic stop on campus, university officials said.

The officer killed was identified as Deriek Crouse, 39, an Army veteran and married father of five who joined the campus police force about six months after the 2007 massacre. He previously worked at a jail and a sheriff's department.

Blacksburg, Va.


After about four terrifying hours in which scores of law-enforcement agents scoured the campus for the shooter, the university announced the threat was over and that a second body was found. Sgt. Robert Carpentieri, spokesman for the State Police, was unable to say it was the shooter but suggested as much.

The shooting recalled the terror that gripped this campus in the southwestern Virginia mountains in 2007 when a student gunman killed 33 people, including himself. The latest shooting came while university officials were in Washington appealing a fine for the length of time officials took to notify students of the first two deaths in 2007.

Frederick Cook, 26, who escaped the 2007 gunman by jumping out a second-floor window, said the news Thursday reopened painful memories.

"I know for myself and others involved in the 2007 shooting, we all talk about a heightened sense of emotions about these things. You feel these events," said Cook, who runs a business near campus.

Sophomore Abby Lorenz, 19, of Millington, Md., said students felt safe, but "it almost makes you feel for the people that were here before. It makes it a lot more real."

This time, a new emergency alert system, using texts, e-mails and other methods quickly spread word of the threat. Freshman Krystan Marshall said she was studying in her dorm room, around 12:35 p.m. when she got an e-mail alerting her to the shooting.

"From their response today, I do not know what else the university would be asked to do," Cook said.

Contributing: Marisol Bello and Oren Dorell in McLean, Va.; William M. Welch in Los Angeles.