BLACKSBURG, Va. — Police are trying to determine why a 22-year-old part-time Radford University student fatally shot a police officer on the campus of nearby Virginia Tech on Thursday afternoon, and then turned the gun on himself.
The gunman, identified by police late Friday as Ross Truett Ashley of Spotsylvania County, had no apparent connection to Tech police Officer Deriek Crouse, 39, who was slain as he sat in his cruiser, police said. A day earlier, authorities said, Ashley is suspected of walking into a real estate office in Radford with a gun, demanding car keys and stealing a white Mercedes SUV. That car was found Thursday on Virginia Tech's campus.
Radford University officials said in a statement that Ashley was enrolled part time as a business management major but declined further comment.
What led to the violence remains unclear, but police have said they think Ashley acted alone. They are trying to piece together his movements before the shooting, which occurred just after noon Thursday in the university coliseum parking lot. Crouse had just pulled over a driver in an unrelated incident.
Police said Ashley, dressed in a maroon hoodie and gray hat, walked up to Crouse's cruiser and opened fire. Crouse, who also is an Army reservist who served in Iraq, left a wife and five children and stepchildren.