Police identify gunman in Va. Tech murder-suicide

Ross Truett Ashley
Virginia State Police

(CBS/AP) BLACKSBURG, Virginia - Police identified the Virginia Tech gunman on Friday as 22-year-old Ross Truett Ashley, a part-time college student from nearby Radford University, but say they still do not know what led him to kill a police officer and then himself.

Virginia State Police said the day before the shooting, Ashley stole a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint from a real estate office in Radford, about 15 miles away. He dumped the car on the Tech campus, and it was found Thursday.

Police said he walked up to the police officer he did not know and fired, then took off for the campus greenhouses, ditching his pullover, wool cap and backpack. He made his way to a nearby parking lot, and then a deputy spotted him, but lost sight of him.

The deputy then found the man lying on the pavement, shot to death. The handgun was nearby.

Deriek W. Crouse, 39, was the police officer killed. He had been on the Virginia Tech force for four years, joining about six months after 33 people were killed in a classroom building and dorm April 16, 2007, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Crouse pulled over a student Thursday and was shot while sitting in his unmarked cruiser. The student didn't have any link to the gunman, state police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said Friday at a news conference.

Complete coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting on Crimesider