The Virginia Tech police officer who was gunned down in a campus attack joined the force in 2007, six months after the university was the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.
Deriek W. Crouse, an Army veteran and married father of five children and stepchildren, was killed Thursday after pulling a driver over in a school parking lot. Police said the gunman walked up, shot the officer and then fled on foot before he apparently killed himself nearby, according to Associated Press. The deceased suspect was not involved in the traffic stop.
Crouse previously worked in a jail, and for a county sheriff's department. Friends and acquaintances described him to AP as a "jokester" who loved riding his motorcycle and rock music. He received an award in 2008 from the force for his work on the university's anti-drunk driving campaign, AP reports.
Police say they don't know what motivated the officer's killing or whether there was any link between the shooter, who has not been identified, and Crouse.
The events unfolded on the same day Virginia Tech officials were in Washington, fighting a federal government fine over their handling of the 2007 massacre where 33 people were killed. The shooting brought back painful memories. About 150 students gathered silently for a candlelight vigil on a field facing the stone plaza memorial for the 2007 victims. An official vigil for Crouse is planned for Friday night.