Washington: Authorities issued a lockdown on Thursday at the campus of Virginia Tech, site of a 2007 mass shooting that killed 32 people, after a man suspected of carrying a gun was sited on campus, the school said.
An alert on the school's Web site said: "Person with a gun reported near Dietrick (a dining hall). Stay inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help."
A subsequent crime alert said three youths attending a camp on campus reported seeing a white man who appeared to have a gun covered with a cloth.
"Officers responded immediately to the area but found no one matching the description," the crime alert said.
"We have been told to stay put until we get more information," Virginia Tech communications officer Lynn Davis told CNN. Davis said her office was near the dining hall.
Activity at the school, which is currently being used to house dozens of academic and sports camps for children over the summer vacation, ground to a halt after the lockdown.
"Even the construction zone has come to a halt," Davis said. "I see no one outside. Everything has come to a halt."
The crime alert described the suspect as 6 feet tall with light brown hair, wearing a blue and white striped shirt, gray shorts and brown sandals.
The warning said the man was seeing walking fast in the direction of the volleyball courts.
Virginia Tech, which was criticized for not reacting quickly enough when gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on campus in April 2007, responded quickly this time.
After sending out an initial warning on the Web site, the school continued to update people on campus and the city of Blacksburg kept its citizens apprised of the situation through its own Web site.
An FBI spokeswoman in Richmond said they were aware of the reported incident and agents were en route if not already on scene.
First Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 21:06