Virginia Tech was under lockdown on Thursday following a report of a possible gunman on campus, although authorities said they had not been able to confirm there was a man or any threat at the university.
The school put the lockdown in effect after three juveniles attending a camp at the university reported seeing a man holding what may have been a handgun. The Blacksburg, Va., campus -- officially called the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University -- was the site of the worst campus shooting in U.S. history in 2007 when student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 students and faculty, along with himself. He wounded 25 others in the rampage.
But campus officials said during a press conference on Thursday morning that they had not found a gunman on or near the campus. “We have not had any further reported sightings. We have not had any reports of anybody suspicious, at least with regard to this person,” Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.
However, authorities asked people on campus to remain indoors. “The alert is in effect until further notice. We ask that people stay indoors until they hear from us again,” said a university official.
President Obama has been briefed on the situation and will receive further updates throughout the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
The three juveniles reported seeing the suspicious man shortly after 9 a.m., according to an update on the university’s website. “They say the weapon was covered by a cloth or covering of some sort. He was walking fast in the direction of the volleyball courts. He was wearing a blue-and-white striped shirt (stripes were vertical), gray shorts, and brown sandals. The subject had no facial hair or glasses,” the update stated.
“Officers responded immediately to the area but found no one matching the description,” according to the update. “Police have encountered no other witnesses reporting this individual or anything suspicious.”
Law-enforcement officers were continuing to patrol the campus. People who see anything suspicious have been asked to contact campus police at 540-231-6411 or call 911.