Thursday, December 8, 2011

Virginia Tech officer’s in-car camera captures assailant

UPDATE Dec. 9, 6:20 p.m.  Virginia Tech assailant identified as Ross Ashley, 22 of Spotsylvania County. He was a part-time Radford student. He was the individual who stole an SUV the day prior to the shooting. State police are still investigating the motive behind the shooting of officer Crouse.

UPDATE Dec. 9, 10:00 a.m.: The shooter was not a VT student or related to the school in any way. The assailant did not know the student that was in the stopped vehicle nor did the assailant know or was he related to the slain campus police officer. The shooter shot himself as another officer approached. He had no identification on him. They suspect a stolen Radford vehicle was used by the shooter. During the 10:00 a.m press conference. Dr. Steger confirmed his opposition to guns on campus.

In a question asking if the dash cam video would be released following completion of the investigation they said “no.” They would not say whether the assailant was carrying a licensed concealed handgun.

UPDATE: Dec. 9, 5:10 a.m. –  Ballistic tests show that the same weapon was used in both fatalities.

Dec: 8, 10:30 p.m. -Governor Bob McDonnell held a conference call that began at 8:42 p.m. Thursday night. On the call was Major Rick Jenkins. Deputy Director of Virginia State Police, Captain George Austin and Col. Bob Carter Virginia State Police Deputy Superintendent

The situation is still unfolding and the investigation continues said the governor. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and all the Virginia Tech community.”

The governor recounted that according to state police an individual approached and shot a VT campus police officer in his vehicle near the coliseum The officer was in the process of making a routine traffic stop. Evidence suggests that it was not the person the officer had pulled over. It was someone else on foot.

The victim’s name was later released. He was Deriek W. Crouse, 39, of Christiansburg and is survived by his wife, five children and step-children.

Shortly after the officer was shot another gunshot was heard. Thirty minutes later a white male fatality was found in the “I” lot (Cage) near the duck pond.

The governor said that it was good fortune that it was not a normal class day and only a reading day prior to exams.

At the request of VT officials the Virginia State Police took the lead in the investigation. The governor then dispatched a number of state police to the scene and offered any resources that could assist the state police to insure the shooter was apprehended.

McDonnell said, “The multiple law enforcement, VT officials, staff and students are all to be commended for a very fast and very proper response.” Indications were that in a matter of just minutes after the first shooting occurred that a text message was sent out at about 12:37 p.m. to all the students he said.

He said that “by all accounts the execution of the plan [developed since 2007] played a very significant role in protecting all students and the faculty” and a rapid response.

His daughter Rachel had just finished a presentation in Shanks Hall and was in lockdown. He said, “Like so many parents that have children on VT campus I felt a lot of that angst” as initial reports came out – some of them inaccurate about additional gunshots.

He thanked officials for keeping parents informed.

The two crime scenes were confirmed to be related. They are continuing to process ballistic and DNA evidence and most recently video evidence from the campus police officer’s car. UPDATE: Dec. 9 –  Ballistic tests show that the same weapon was used in both fatalities. 5:10 a.m.

The governor has offered VT President Dr. Steger additional resources and anything additional that might be needed. He has made available mental health professionals if needed prior to the rescheduled exams.

In praising the immediate response McDonnell reiterated, “As a parent I am very grateful for all the work that they did in keeping the young people safe this afternoon.”

Major Jenkins said they began their investigation at 12:51 p.m. Their role is to investigate the shooting death of the officer and the other fatality. The active and ongoing investigation includes Roanoke where firearms evidence and DNA evidence are being examined. Witnesses are being interviewed as well as follow-up of information on the individual alleged shooter.

They are still conducting evaluation of the crime scene and all items of evidence recovered at the crime scene. They have just begun review of the officer’s in-car video.

With the video they have been able to preliminarily determine with a high degree of confidence that the white male found at the cage parking area was the person who shot the campus police officer. They also believe the weapon found was the one used to shoot the officer. Friday they expect to have detailed analysis of ballistics evidence that will determine if the firearm was also used in the white male’s fatality.

Captain Austin is the on-scene commander. In questioning by media on the conference call the lockdown continued though they were able to tentatively match the other male fatality description to the probable shooter. At the time they could not say with 100 percent certainty that he acted alone.

The video and descriptive clothing bear out with some certainty that the male fatality and alleged shooter probably acted alone.

It has yet to be confirmed whether the officer was able to shoot back or defend himself while in his vehicle. More evaluation of the video will possibly reveal more on that.

The occupant of the vehicle pulled over for the traffic stop is still being interviewed. Any connection between the officer and alleged shooter has yet to be determined. Witnesses and follow-up interviews are continuing.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Crime, Local Events

Tags: , , ,

Comments (1)

Val

December 9th, 2011 at 2:12 AM    


Though the AP is reporting it as a murder/suicide. Police have not confirmed that until the ballistic report proves the same gun was used by the unidentified white male in the Cage parking lot.

It wasn’t denied but it wasn’t confirmed as of Thursday night either. I don’t usually write about things like this but I did get invite to governor’s conference call through a press release.

Watching the different news outlets and how they report this has been eye opening.

Erin Burnett of CNN questioned Major Jenkins trying to get the name of the officer. I watched her on CNN and she didn’t assume anything in her reporting.

However she was slow (I didn’t see that she ever got the name) in getting the officers name. It was released by another source while the conference call was still going on.

Another news outlet pressured for WHY the lockdown continued if they were so certain that the shooter was dead. He really was an ass … questioning was accusatory and stupid. The point was they didn’t know if he was the only person involved at the time. They don’t make the lockdown call anyway … VT officials and those in charge make the call on lifting the lockdown.

Anyway this was my first try at reporting something like this and I don’t have the resources to follow up so look for updates in all the other media outlets.

The AP link: http://news.yahoo.com/slain-va-tech-officer-identified-army-veteran-024156993.html

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