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Shots fired; man with gun arrested at NVCC's Woodbridge campus

Update, 6:50 p.m.:

Police identify the alleged gunman as Jason Michael Hamilton, 20, of Baneberry Circle in the Manassas area. He is charged with attempted murder and is being held without bond. The intended target was his math teacher, police said.

Update. 5:20 p.m.:

Prince William Police Sgt. Kim Chinn gave this account at an afternoon update. It explains how the situation ended peacefully, but still leaves some questions:

She said there was a campus police officer behind the school building doing a traffic stop when he heard shots. Students fleeing the building told him that there was a man with a gun. He radioed to Prince William police, who were on the scene in minutes.

Police still have no clear picture of the shooting itself, but know that the teacher ducked and the shot missed. There were students in the classroom at the time, but they don't know how many. They don't know if the gunman entered the classroom or shot from the hall.

When police arrived, the shooter was in the hall without the gun in his hand. He cooperated and showed police where the gun was and was taken into custody without a fight.


Update, 4:58 p.m.:

A student inside the building, Michelle Wittkoff, said she was inside a classroom on the third floor and did not hear any shots. A student from another class walked in and told her class there had been a shooting. Wittkoff said she looked outside and saw numerous police officers with their guns drawn.

The class began to file out, but a school official instructed them to stay in the classroom and they have been for more than two hours awaiting an "all clear" sign, Wittkoff said. They are still waiting.

While the students were in the hallway, Wittkoff saw a young man in handcuffs being led down the stairs from the fourth floor by police. She said he was a white male in his early 20s, wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, with wavy light brown hair.
"He didn't look too happy," she said, but he was not speaking.

After an hour of waiting, an announcement was made over the school intercom that students should remain in their classrooms. "It doesn't seem like they have a plan," she said.

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

Carlene Mackereth, a spokeswoman for Northern Virginia Community College, said she believes that two shots were fired. She also said many students inside the building are still on lockdown, as police ensure there is no more danger. She did not know how many students or faculty are affected.

Update, 4:39 p.m.:

The school posted a statement on its Web site saying all classes on the Woodbridge campus are canceled tonight, including those at Freedom High School. The statement also says families seeking information about students, staff or faculty should meet at the parking lot of Freedom High School.

Update: 4:22 p.m.:

Police Sgt. Kim Chinn said the shooter walked into a classroom inside the administration building and was aiming for a female teacher. The teacher hit the floor and was not injured. It "appears to be an upset student," Chinn said.

Original Post:

A man with a high-powered rifle opened fire at an administration building on the Prince William campus of Northern Virginia Community College, but no one was injured and the man was in custody. The incident caused the college to shut down Tuesday afternoon.

Prince William police confirmed that shots were fired, but they wouldn't say how many.

Police were called at 2:40 p.m. to the college's main administration building in Woodbridge for a report of shots fired, police said.

Police treated the report as an "active shooter" situation, Officer Erika Hernandez said, and the college launched an emergency lockdown.

Campus and Prince William police searched the campus and took an adult male into custody, police said. They did not release any additional information about the suspect.

Police were making safety sweeps of the campus at 3:50 p.m. to determine whether any other dangers were present, Hernandez said.

The campus remained on lockdown late Tuesday afternoon, and it was not clear whether evening classes would be held.

Roads around the campus also are closed.

-- Tom Jackman and Jennifer Buske

By Washington Post editors  |  December 8, 2009; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  Pr. William , Tom Jackman  
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