Gun Used in Virginia Tech Homicide-Suicide Purchased Legally - NBC4 Washington

Gun Used in Virginia Tech Homicide-Suicide Purchased Legally

Police still lack motive



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    Local S.W.A.T. team members congregate near a parking lot on the campus of Virginia Tech during a search for a gunman Dec. 8, 2011.

    The weapon a gunman used to shoot and kill and Virginia Tech police officer and himself was purchased legally, Virginia State Police said.

    Ross Ashley, 22, bought a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun in January from a licensed gun dealer in the commonwealth. He used it to kill Officer Deriek Crouse and himself Thursday, police said.

    Police still have not managed to determine a motive for the homicide and haven’t come up with any connection between Crouse and Ashley, a part-time student at nearby Radford University.

    “Despite investigators' non-stop pursuit of this case, there still remains no prior connection or contact between” the men, read a statement from police.

    Crouse was shot on Tech's Blacksburg campus during a routine traffic stop on Thursday in a parking lot of Cassell Coliseum. Ashley was found a short time later in a nearby parking lot. Ballistics tests linked the same gun to both killings.

    The shooting sent tremors through the Virginia Tech campus, which was the scene of the deadliest U.S. mass shooting in April 2007. A gunman killed 32 and then himself.

    State police investigators said they have interviewed family, friends and acquaintances to reconstruct Ashley's movements before his deadly encounter with Crouse.

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    Ashley stole at gunpoint a 2011 luxury SUV from a Radford real estate office the day before the officer's slaying and his first known appearance in Blacksburg was recorded hours later by surveillance video inside a retail shop in the college town.

    A state police timeline does not include any other sightings of Ashley until the lunch-hour shooting of Crouse the following day.

    Crouse was an Army veteran and married father of five children and stepchildren who joined the campus police force about six months after the 2007 massacre. He previously worked at a jail and for the Montgomery County sheriff's department. His funeral Monday at a campus coliseum was attended by family, friends and dignitaries, including Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    Ashley grew up the isolated northern Virginia community of Partlow and played football at Spotsylvania High School. Friends and former classmates said he had broken up with his girlfriend over the summer and vaguely mentioned some family issues, but they generally spoke of him in positive terms.

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