Five years after it witnessed the deadliest shooting rampage in modern United States history, the Virgina Tech University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia was on Thursday night targeted by a gunman who killed a campus police officer before killing himself.
The police officer was killed after pulling a driver over in a traffic stop. The gunman, who was not involved in the traffic stop, walked into the parking lot and shot the officer.
The shooting, which occurred shortly after noon (US time), triggered sirens and alerts telling students to stay locked inside.
Using Twitter, the school first reported: "Gun shots reported - Coliseum Parking lot. Stay Inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help."
A second tweet followed: "Suspect described as white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack. On foot towards McComas. Call 911."
The shooting took place the same day the university was appealing a $55,000 fine imposed by the US Department of Education for violating the rules of an emergency notification policy in the 2007 shooting.
Over the past five years, Virginia Tech enhanced its emergency response procedures by incorporating social media, mobile phone, and website alerts.