[UPDATE] 3:00pm EST
From VT.edu : NO THREAT – Pritchard Hall has been reopened. Police have concluded their search and found no evidence of gunfire. Further details on Virginia Tech News website.
[UPDATE] 2:56pm EST
An e-mail sent from VT Alerts to students stated that, “During the course of the investigation, eyewitnesses reported seeing people, possibly students exploding firecrackers or something else in or near a dumpster near Pritchard. Police have found no evidence of gunfire from within or outside the building and believe the noises likely came from something other than gunfire.”
Virginia Tech’s current web page notes that Pritchard Hall (student dormitory) is on lockdown after shots are supposedly heard around 1pm EST. Virginia Tech spokeswoman says police are searching room by room; currently unknown if there were injuries. No access in or out of the dorm.
CollegiateTimes.com currently has a live blogger covering the events, WTOP has similar details. AP reports that the sounds may be from a nearby construction site, the campus police are still investigating. We’ll update you as more becomes available.
WSET-TV Reports: “An alert on the university’s website says police are conducting a room by room search in Pritchard Hall on the Blacksburg, Va., campus. “Police have walked the halls and report NO residual smell of gunpowder.”
News Service Release from Virginia Tech (link from Lynchburg News Advance)
MEDIA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE
Published: November 13, 2008
Virginia Tech police and Blacksburg police have sent out a campus alert about gunshot sounds being reported in Pritchard Hall, a residence hall.
The building was locked down after two people reported hearing what sounded like gunfire at about 1 p.m. An e-mail alert was sent at 1:40 to the campus community.
Police are searching the building. There has been no confirmation of a shooting.
The residence hall is directly across the street from a construction site, which could be the source of the sounds.
Pritchard Hall, a residence hall that opened in 1967 in the Prairie Community along Washington Street, is home to 1,000 residents and is billed as the largest all-male dorm on the East Coast.
The e-mail alert sent to students at 1:40 said: “Police are investigating reported sounds of gunshots in Pritchard Hall. Building is secured. No access in or out. Police searching room by room.”
(an e-mail received from our own Tom Bridge from Virginia Tech)
From: VT Alerts <email@example.com>Date: November 13, 2008 2:21:24 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients <LISTSERV@LISTSERV.VT.EDU>
Subject: Pritchard Hall Update
Police now believe that sounds from Pritchard were NOT gunfire. Investigation still ongoing.
Police have interviewed witnesses who saw and heard people, possibly students, exploding something outside Pritchard Hall.
At about 12:50 p.m. Thursday VTPD received a report of sounds like gunfire in the vicinity of Pritchard Hall. Police immediately secured the building and began a floor by floor and room by room search. During the course of the investigation , eyewitnesses reported seeing people, possibly students exploding firecrackers or something else in or near a dumpster near Pritchard. Police have found no evidence of gunfire from within or outside the building and believe the noises likely came from something other than gunfire.
– end of message –