Virginia Tech university was given a chilling reminder of its unwanted place in American history yesterday when a gunman shot dead a police officer before turning the gun on himself.
Four years after 33 people died at the university in the worst mass shooting in the US in modern times, armed police were again out in force as the campus was put into "lockdown".
The shooting occurred shortly after noon. One witness said the Virginia Tech police officer was shot as he made a routine traffic stop. The gunman then fled on foot, before a second body was discovered in a nearby car park with the weapon nearby.
Police indicated they were confident the second body was the gunman's, but this had not been confirmed last night. He was described as a white man wearing grey trousers, a grey hat, a maroon hoodie and a backpack.
The incident came on the day that the university, in Blacksburg, Virginia, appealed against a $55,000 (£35,200) fine handed down for not reacting more speedily during the massacre carried out by a South Korean student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, in April 2007. Virginia Tech has since introduced an advanced security system.
Students described yesterday how sirens sounded as they were sent automated text messages telling them to stay where they were and keep away from any windows.