Slaying reported at Virginia Tech
By Tonia Moxley
Matt Gentry | The Roanoke Times
Virginia Tech police say a person has been killed in the Graduate Life Center on campus.
Virginia Tech police say one person was killed this evening in the Graduate Life Center on campus. A suspect is in custody, according to a text alert sent to the campus community at 7:44 p.m.
A news conference was scheduled for 9 p.m.
The Graduate Life Center at the intersection of Otey Street and College Avenue opened for the 2005-06 school year in the former Donaldson Brown hotel as Tech's first-ever graduate student housing area. It houses more than 100 students.
Sophomores Lina Garada and Melissa Lawall said they were in the gym when a friend told them what happened. About a half hour later they received a text alert that confirmed the news.
"I still don't understand how it happened," Lawall said.
Garada, a Richmond native, said she's used to hearing news of violent acts that in her home city, but wouldn't expect it in Blacksburg. She said it's unfortunate for such an incident to occur on students' second day back to class after winter break.
Graduate student James Allen received multiple text alerts about the incident while he was in Squires Student Center.
"Hate to say it, but unfortunately we've gotten used to this kind of thing after April 16, but it is sad though," Allen said.
On April 16, 2007, student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 students and faculty before turning a gun on himself.
Allen said all he can do now is trust that the school and universitiy police have the situation under control, since the alert said that police had a suspect in custody.
Student Ken Stanton said he had exchanged text messages with a friend who is in law enforcement who was a first responder to the scene, but he declined to identify the friend.
"I asked him, basically, if they knew for sure that the suspect was in custody," Stanton said. "He wrote back and told me it was a stabbing and that they strongly suspected they have the person they're looking for."
The victim is believed to be female, he said.
Stanton said he received a text alert about 20 minutes after he'd become aware of the incident.
Although he said he was in class at the time of the incident, Stanton said "the VT alert didn't go out until after I got home."
-- Lerone Graham and Neil Harvey contributed to this report