The Virginia Tech police officer who was gunned down in a campus attack joined the force six months after the university was the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. He was a proud policeman who recently invited a friend to ride along with him, which made his death during a traffic stop even more puzzling.
Deriek W. Crouse, an Army veteran and married father of five, was killed Thursday after pulling a driver over in a school parking lot. Police said the gunman walked up, shot the officer and then fled on foot before he apparently killed himself nearby. The deceased suspect was not involved in the traffic stop, reports CBS News.
Both Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek W. Crouse and another man were shot with the same gun. The ballistics test is part of the ongoing investigation into Thursday's double shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech that left many thinking back to the 2007 mass slaying at the university that left 33 dead.
Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger released a statement about the shooting Thursday night. "Once again, the campus and the community that we love so well have been visited by senseless violence and tragic loss," the statement said. "Tragedy again struck Virginia Tech in a wanton act of violence where our police officer, Deriek Crouse, was murdered during a routine traffic stop.", says CNN.
The news release said clothing found inside a discarded backpack recovered by Blacksburg police seemed to match that of the male subject in the officer's video. Police said they were awaiting confirmation of the deceased suspect's identity as well as autopsy results from the medical examiner in Roanoke.
The events unfolded on the same day Virginia Tech officials were in Washington, fighting a federal government fine over their handling of the 2007 massacre where 33 people were killed. The shooting brought back painful memories. About 150 students gathered silently for a candlelight vigil on a field facing the stone plaza memorial for the 2007 victims. An official vigil is planned for Friday night, according to ABC News.
Police would not rule out a connection between the shootings and an armed robbery Wednesday in Radford, about 10 miles from Blacksburg. According to media reports, Radford police were looking for a man they considered armed and dangerous after an armed robbery at a local real estate office.
In August, a report of a possible gunman at Virginia Tech set off the longest, most extensive lockdown and search on campus since 2007. No gunman was found, and the school gave the all-clear about five hours after sirens began wailing and students and staff members started receiving warnings. The system was also put to the test in 2008, when an exploding nail gun cartridge was mistaken for gunfire. Only one dorm was locked down during that emergency, and it reopened two hours later, informs Baxter Bulletin.