BLACKSBURG, VA (RNN) - Police have identified the officer killed by a gunman on the campus of Virginia Tech on Thursday.
Deriek W. Crouse, 39, joined the Virginia Tech Police Department in 2007. He leaves behind a wife and 5 children and step-children. Crouse was also a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army.
Police believe the gunman may have walked up on a traffic stop, killed Crouse in his cruiser and then killed himself after fleeing the scene on foot.
In an open letter to the campus, university President Charles Steger wrote, "My heart goes out to his family who will surely feel most keenly, in the days and months and years ahead, the profound loss that today's events have brought to pass."
In a news briefing, Virginia Tech Police Department Deputy Chief Gene Deisinger said a suspicious person was spotted after the shooting by a second campus police officer. The officer said the man was "shot and killed" before he could question him.
A weapon was recovered at the scene near that shooting victim's body. That person is believed to be the gunman.
"Shortly after 12 p.m. today, a Virginia Tech officer stopped a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas hall. During the traffic stop, the officer was shot and killed," according to a statement by Mark Owczarski, director of news and information at Virginia Tech.
The state police, FBI and a SWAT team swarmed the campus for nearly four hours searching for the person who shot Crouse. The campus was placed on lockdown shortly after eye witnesses reported the shooting.
The lockdown was lifted after police declared there was no longer an imminent threat to the campus.
During the lockdown - as police, a tactical response team and search dogs searched for the unidentified shooter - students were sequestered in the basement of the student center. Police also searched nearby cars and neighborhoods for the suspect.
Montgomery County Schools were also placed on lockdown, with buses released 60 to 90 minutes late.
More shots reported in at least two more locations on campus, but police determined those were actually the noise of trash dumpsters banging together during pick-up.
One person near the performing arts center apparently surrendered to authorities, but he was not arrested.
Law enforcement blocked the back gates to the campus, and police requested any unassigned units to report to the south gate. At least 15 squad cars were reported on campus.
Finals for the students, which were supposed to start Friday, have been rescheduled for Saturday. Next week's exams will resume as scheduled on Monday.
This is not the first shooting on the Virginia Tech campus. On April 26, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people - five faculty members and 27 students - and wounded 25 others before committing suicide.
Cho, who was a senior, shot two people at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory before crossing campus to Norris Hall, a classroom building.
He chained the main entrance doors shut to prevent anyone from exiting the building and hindering police from entering the building. Students jumped from windows to escape the shooter.
Cho killed himself as police stormed the building.
In August, the campus was placed on lockdown after reports of a gunman were made to campus police. No gunman was ever found.
Ironically, testimony had been scheduled today in an appeal hearing requested by the university for fines levied against it for its handling of the 2007 shooting.
Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.