The two deaths at Virginia Tech are resolved, but still not completely understood.
To face the tragedy of losing yet another life to gun violence, students look to vigils as a source of hope and solace.
Yesterday, students gathered in an impromptu vigil following the untimely death of police officer Deriek Crouse, who was brutally murdered by the gunman at a routine traffic stop. While there, students reflected on the first and second times that blood was shed on the campus and lit candles in remembrance of someone who died trying to protect and serve.
“It’s heartbreaking… We’re all just distraught about it all,” said one student, according to NBC News.
The university held a press conference to address the sentiments of the campus, and to answer the burning questions about the shooting. In attendance was Larry Hincker, the associate vice president for university relations, Wendell Flinchum of the University Police, and Corinne Geller, of the Virginia State Police.
During the conference, which was made available to all Virginia Tech students via live video feed, the panel stated that they had identified the shooter, and unlike the horrific incidents of 2007, he was not a student at the school.
Currently, they believe that the gunman was acting alone.
Video from Crouse’s cruiser revealed a description of the suspect, and authorities caught sight of him, but lost him soon afterwards. By the time police had found him in a nearby parking lot, he had been shot, possibly in a suicide attempt.
Hincker - who before 2007 was mainly responsible for the universities’ relationship with the media and other outlets - reflected on the way the incidents changed the campus and the way the shootings changed the country’s perspective on violence.
“There really wasn’t anything like this in the nation four years ago,” Hincker said, “There is a way to respond when your campus is visited by violence.”
That response included implementing a system that may have saved lives. Within a few minutes of the shooting, the entire campus was notified, and everyone was advised to stay indoors.
Hokies will band together once again to host another, more planned vigil Friday at 6:30 p.m., anticipating a better future, and borrowing each other’s strength.