Gunman alert on Virginia massacre campus
Virginia Tech, where 33 people died in a 2007 massacre, was locked down today after three children attending a summer camp said they saw a man holding what looked like a gun.
The university issued an alert on its website telling students and employees to stay inside and lock their doors.
The children said they saw the man walking fast toward the volleyball courts, carrying what might have been a handgun covered by some type of cloth.
Police swarmed into the area but said they could not find a gunman matching their description. The university said on its website that no one else has reported a person with a gun or anything suspicious.
An alert on the school's website said the gunman was reported near Dietrick Hall, a three-story dining facility steps away from the dorm where the first shootings took place in the 2007 rampage.
Federal authorities fined the school in March after ruling that administrators violated campus safety law by waiting too long to notify staff and students about a potential threat after two students were shot dead on April 16, 2007, in West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dorm near the dining facility.
An email alert went out more than two hours later that day, about the time a student from South Korea, Seung-Hui Cho, was chaining shut the doors to a classroom building where he killed 30 more students and faculty and himself. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The school's alert system was also activated in 2008, when an exploded cartridge from a nail gun produced sounds similar to gunfire near a campus dormitory. It was the first time the system was activated after the 2007 massacre. After the shootings, Virginia Tech started using text messages and other methods besides emails to warn students of danger.
Today, officials said they were looking for a six-foot-tall white man with light brown hair. Officials said the person was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, grey shorts and brown sandals. He was described as clean shaven.
Local and Virginia State Police were searching for the man. FBI agents were also on their way to the scene.