22-year-old Ross Truett Ashley, a part-time student at Radford University in Radford, Va. shot dead a campus police officer at Virginia Tech on Thursday before killing himself, officials said.
According to press, ” Ashley had entered a real estate office in Radford on Wednesday and demanded the keys to an employee’s white 2011 Mercedes Benz at gunpoint. He drove off in the vehicle and later dumped it on the campus of Virginia Tech”.
The vehicle, a white Mercedes SUV, was found the next day on Virginia Tech’s campus. At around 12:15 on Thursday, police say Ashley shot 39-year-old Deriek W. Crouse while the officer was sitting in his car.
The state police said they have not been able to establish any prior contact or connection between Ashley and Crouse and still do not know why the student shot him. He changed clothes at a greenhouse on campus. Shortly after seeing a man walking through a nearby car park, an officer found Ashley dead at the park, who had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot.
Virginia Tech implemented new alert systems, including text alerts sent to students’ phones, after facing criticism for the schools’ response to the previous shooting. The systems “worked exactly as expected,” said Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech’s associate vice president for university relations.
About 150 students gathered in a candlelight vigil on Thursday evening at the campus memorial for the shootings of four years ago.
Deriek Crouse was one of about 50 officers on the campus force and had served there for four years, joining about six months after the 2007 massacre.
Thirty-two people died in April that year when a 23-year-old South Korean, Seung-Hui Cho, went on a gun rampage before turning the weapon on himself.