BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech shut down its campus Monday and ordered everyone to remain inside as authorities searched for an escaped inmate suspected of killing a hospital guard and a sheriff’s deputy.
William Morva, 24, had been seen near the campus, authorities said.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin was closing in on the fugitive Monday morning along a trail off the university campus when he was fatally shot, the sheriff’s department said.
Officials canceled Monday’s first day of classes for the more than 25,000 students at Virginia Tech as a precaution.
“The suspect is armed, he has no problems with shooting. … We don’t need innocent people being around the area,” said Kurt Krause, a Virginia Tech vice president.
Morva was described as wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and khaki shorts. Police said he had shed his orange prison jumpsuit after the hospital shooting.
“The fact that the guy can blend in so well with campus students is kind of scary,” said Josh Burnheimer, 20, a Virginia Tech junior from Ashburn, Va. “Everywhere you look there are police snipers on the roof.”
Morva, an inmate at Montgomery County Jail, had been taken from the jail to Montgomery Regional Hospital for treatment of a sprained leg and wrist.
He escaped early Sunday after overpowering a sheriff’s deputy, taking the deputy’s gun and then shooting the unarmed hospital security guard, authorities said. The hospital guard was identified as Derrick McFarland, 26. The deputy was in stable condition with injuries he suffered in the attack.
Morva had been jailed awaiting trial on charges of attempting to rob a store last year.
Authorities used helicopters and dogs to sweep an area that included the university campus, about one block from the Blacksburg Police Station.
“Whatever it takes, until he’s caught,” said police Lt. Joe Davis.