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Virginia Tech lifts alert after search for reported man with a gun

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Man with gun reported at Virginia Tech
  • NEW: The campus alert is lifted; authorities say no suspect found
  • Summer sessions are being held at the school
  • The university is asking people to stay indoors
  • A massacre occurred at the school in 2007

(CNN) -- Virginia Tech lifted the alert Thursday afternoon it had ordered earlier in the day when it was believed that a man with a gun was on campus.

"There will continue to be a large police presence on campus today. Police have not received nor discovered additional information about a person possibly carrying a weapon beyond that reported this morning The university community may resume normal campus activity," a statement on the school's website said.

Virginia Tech is the site of the 2007 shooting massacre and the scare had some in the school remembering that shooting spree.

Authorities released a sketch of the man three juveniles had said might have been carrying a weapon on campus.

A little after 9 a.m. the three juveniles, who are attending a camp at Virginia Tech, said they saw a white male who had an object covered by some kind of cloth that the juveniles believed to be a weapon, officials said.

They said the man was walking fast. Authorities did not locate him and they said they never found a person who matched the description they were given.

As the search was underway during the day, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum warned students and others to continue to stay indooors.

Near noon, university officials said four other police departments were helping in the search but no suspect had been captured.

At 1 p.m. the University release the sketch of the suspect and said the search continued.

"We have a very large campus and this will be a long process. There have been no further sightings or reports," the university said in one of its many alerts Thursday.

Larry Hinker, an executive with the university, said it was very important to get information to the campus to help keep people safe.

"This is simply the world we live in today," Hinker said. "People expect and want to know exactly what's happening. You need to communicate first and investigate later and that's what we did."

The white male was described as having light brown hair and being 6 feet tall, and was said to be walking in the direction of a volleyball court. The man was wearing a blue-and-white striped shirt, gray shorts and brown sandals. He had no glasses or facial hair, according to the report.

Summer sessions are being held at the school but regular classes aren't in session at the southwestern Virginia college.

"The only thing that we've received is that there is possibly a person carrying a weapon on campus," said a woman who answered the phones at the Virginia Tech police office.

"We are suggesting everyone stay inside for their safety."

In April 2007, a gunman at the school shot dead 32 people before killing himself.

Kelsey Heiter, the managing editor of the campus newspaper, said the alert Thursday made her think about that shooting massacre.

"This hits too close to home," Heiter said. "But we have a better alert system now. And I have not heard of anybody getting hurt."