The Virginia Tech campus was put on lockdown Thursday morning when a man carrying a gun was reported by three children at a summer camp. Police are scouring the area but so farÂ they have not located anyone matching the description of the suspicious man.Â In 2007, 32 people were killed by a lone gunman in a bloody massacre at the Virginia Tech campus.
A campus alert was released at 9:37 AM on Thursday morning telling all staff and students to remain inside and secure doors. The alert, posted on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University website, stated that a gunman was reported near Dietrick Hall.
“Person with a gun reported near Dietrick. Stay Inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.”
Three children attending a summer camp on campus reported a man carrying what looked like it might be a gun covered by a piece of cloth. According to the description, the man was caucasian, around six feet tall, had brown hair and was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, gray shorts and brown sandals. Police have been searching the area but have not found anyone matching the description given by the children.
“Officers responded immediately to the area but found no one matching the description. Police have encountered no other witnesses reporting this individual or anything suspicious,” the website alert said.
“We have not had any [more] reported sightings or any more information regarding this person,” Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said during a news briefing.
In 2007, student Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people and injured 25 on the Virginia Tech campus before killing himself. It was the deadliest mass murder committed by a lone gunman in U.S. history.
Virginia Tech was issued a fine by federal authorities in March after they ruled the university had violated safety law in waiting too long to notify students and staff of danger on the day of the shooting. By the time the university had released an alert after the first two students were killed, Seung-Hui Cho was already chaining shut the doors of the building where he would go on to kill 30 more staff and students.
“We’re in a new era. Obviously this campus experienced something pretty terrible four years ago … regardless of what your intuition and your experience as a public safety officers tells you, you are really forced to issue an alert, and that’s where we believe we are right now,” a Virginia Tech spokesman said in a press statement.