A police officer and a second victim were gunned down by a lone shooter after a routine traffic stop on the Virginia Tech campus, where 33 people died in a 2007 rampage.
The gunman — described as a white male in gray sweat pants, a maroon hoodie and a backpack — was spotted walking across campus about 10 minutes after the 12:37 p.m. shooting, university officials said.
Despite a campus-wide lockdown, the killer remained at large two hours after the gunfire brought flashbacks of past carnage at the Blacksburg, Va., college. The 2007 slayings marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The gunfire was first reported in the lot outside the Cassell Coliseum, home to the Hokies’ basketball team for the last half-century.
The second victim was slain in the Duck Pond Road Lot, known on campus as “The Cage,” apparently as the gunman fled after mortally wounding the officer.
A photo posted via the school newspaper's Twitter account showed a body, covered by a white sheet, lying alongside a parked car in a lot blocked off by yellow police tape.
“It’s crazy that someone would go and do something like that with all the stuff that happened in 2007,” said Corey Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore from Mechanicsville, Va.
“It’s just weird to think about why someone would do something like this when the school’s had so many problems.”
The university, rattled by a reported gunman on campus for the second time in four months, immediately told students and faculty to stay inside with their doors locked. Visitors were barred from entering the campus.
Local mass transit was also suspended as the hunt for the shooter continued.
The shooting came on the same day when the university was appealing its $55,000 fine for its response to the 2007 rampage.
Students said the campus was unusually quiet before the violence erupted, since classes had ended a day earlier before the start of exams. Virginia Tech has an enrollment of 30,000 students.
In August, a report of a gun-toting man sent waves of terror across the campus. A five-hour security clampdown followed, although the suspected gunman was never taken into custody.
The suspect was spotted near a dormitory by three kids attending a school summer camp.