Over four years after an incident involving a gunman murdering 32 people in April of 2007 before killing himself, Virginia Tech found itself in yet another scary situation Thursday morning.
Three children attending a camp at the campus of school reported a suspicious looking man walking outside a residence hall shortly after 9AM, who they said had a handgun on him. The man was described as being a white, six-foot-tall male with light brown hair, wearing gray short and brown sandals. The institute, learning from the incident that occurred over four years ago, went into immediate lockdown shortly after the report was made after 9:30AM.
The school website then issued the following statement on its website as well as the text message notification system, “Person with gun reported near Dietrick. Stay inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.”
While the fall session doesn’t start until August 22, a few thousand people were still on campus between those taking summer courses, as well as those that have various camps and programs featuring children, such as the three kids that reportedly that alleged gunman. The girls were part of the group called Higher Achievement, a program for disadvantaged households based in Washington.
The University, which was criticized for the response to the shootings in 2007, is now receiving praise for its response this time around. University spokesman Larry Hincker admitted that they’re “in a new era” now. “Obviously, this campus experienced something pretty terrible four years ago. In this day and age, we don’t think we had any choice but to issue a campus alert,” he added.
A sketch of the gunman was then released and classes after 1PM were canceled. Officers from eight different agencies then came and searched the campus and questioned several people, but no specific person was suspected. More than five hours after the lockdown, the alert was lifted at 2:41PM. “Lacking further information, we needed to lift the alert,” Hincker added.