Authorities later captured William Morva, 24, after he was found hiding in a briar patch along a trail off-campus, Blacksburg Police Chief Kim Crannis said. The spot was about 150 yards from where the sheriff's deputy was slain during the intense search Monday morning. A weapon also was recovered, but police would not elaborate.
Hundreds of police scoured the 2,600-acre campus as Virginia Tech Vice President Kurt Krause canceled classes for the school's 26,000 students and sent some 6,000 professors and other workers home.
Morva had escaped from a hospital — about two miles from campus
where he had been taken for treatment of a sprained wrist and ankle early Sunday.
According to police, Morva overpowered another Montgomery County sheriff's deputy at the hospital, took the deputy's gun and then shot an unarmed hospital security guard. The guard was identified as Derrick McFarland, 26. The deputy was in stable condition with a concussion and other severe head injuries he suffered in the attack.
Morva had been jailed while awaiting trial on charges of attempting to rob a store last year and apparently shed his orange prison jumpsuit after escaping.
Watch RAW video of police describing the suspect.
He then is suspected of gunning down sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin as the decorated police officer got closer to the fugitive on the trail about 7 a.m. Monday. Sutphin, a 13-year veteran law-enforcement officer, is survived by his wife, twin daughters and his mother, CBS News affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke, Va., reports.
Morva was wearing shorts with no shirt or shoes when he was captured around 3:30 p.m. Police earlier had said he was wearing a tie-dyed shirt and khakis and feared he would blend in with students on campus.
"It's very scary," said sophomore Kelly Engbersen of Williamsburg. "Every person you see you look hard (and wonder), 'Is that him?"'
As police sirens wailed to signal the arrest, shopkeepers in this college town celebrated the end of the tense search.
"Hallelujah. I'm ready for life to go back to normal," said Paula Bolte, who had put a sign in her grocery store to welcome students back to campus.
Morva was charged with capital murder, use of a firearm in a felony, escape and felony assault on a police officer. He had not been charged with Monday's shooting.
Crannis would not say whether Morva had contacted anyone or been spotted by citizens while he was on the lam.
Akio Robrecht, 27, of Blacksburg, said Morva was a couple years behind him in school. Morva "seemed like a nice, quiet kid," he said. "It's kind of hard to believe."