The Virginia Tech shooting that left a police officer dead was not committed by a student from the school, but rather a random gunman who walked onto university property.
The Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse was shot dead while sitting in his parked cruiser. The gunman walked over to the police car during a traffic stop and killed Crouse.
Crouse had pulled over a driver in the school parking lot. Police say that the gunman was not involved in the traffic stop, which happened at 12:15 p.m. The gunman approached the cruiser on foot and fled after shooting Crouse. The suspect then wound up shooting himself in a nearby parking lot later Thursday.
At this point, we haven't been able to establish any kind of immediate connection between the officer and the shooter, State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told The Associated Press late Thursday. That's obviously something that's being looked into.
The campus shooting prompted official at Virginia Tech, which faced the most brutal school slaying in history in 2007, to lock down the campus, reports The AP. It is unclear whether the 2011 shooting was related to the 2007 shooting, when 33 people were killed.
Authorities have secured an in-car video from officer Crouse's cruiser showing the male suspect with a handgun at the time of the shooting. No identification has yet been made, nor has a motive been determined.
However, university spokesman Larry Hincker said Friday that the suspect was not a Virginia Tech student. He did not disclose any more information.
Crouse was an Army veteran and a married father of five. Crouse was one of approximately 50 officers on the Virginia Tech campus force. He received an award in 2008 for his dedication to the department's drunken driving efforts. He was a crisis intervention officer and had training in general, firearms and defensive tactics instructor.
In light of the turmoil and trauma and the tragedy suffered by this campus by guns, I can only say words don't describe our feelings and they're elusive at this point in time, university president Charles Steger said. Our hearts are broken again for the family of our police officer.
He was a standup guy, said Rusty Zarger, a former neighbor of Crouse's. His two young daughters played with Crouse's sons at the townhouse complex where they lived. He was very mild-mannered, very confident. You could tell he was strong in believing in himself, but very comfortable.