BLACKSBURG, Va. – After a massive manhunt that shut down the Virginia Tech campus on the first day of classes, police on Monday captured an escapee suspected in the slayings of a hospital guard and a sheriff's deputy.
Authorities in Blacksburg, Virginia, say William Morva was found in a briar patch, about 150 yards from where he allegedly gunned down a sheriff's deputy this morning. Although he had a gun, they say he offered no resistance.
Morva, 24, had escaped from a hospital where he had been taken for treatment of a sprained wrist and ankle early Sunday. He had been jailed while awaiting trial on charges of attempting to rob a store last year and apparently shed his orange prison jumpsuit after escaping.
But investigators say he overpowered another deputy, stole his gun, then shot and killed an unarmed hospital security officer.
Virginia Tech Vice President Kurt Krause canceled classes for the school's more than 25,000 students shortly after the first day of the fall semester had started.
Authorities said Morva was spotted wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and khaki shorts, helping him to blend in with other students.
"It's very scary," said sophomore Kelly Engbersen of Williamsburg. "Every person you see you look hard (and wonder) — 'Is that him?"'
As police sirens wailed to signal the arrest, shopkeepers in this college town celebrated the end of the tense search.
"Hallelujah. I'm ready for life to go back to normal," said Paula Bolte, who had put a sign in her grocery store to welcome students back to campus.
School officials sent e-mail warnings telling students and staff to get inside and stay there. During the search, dump trucks and police cruisers blocked roads leading to campus, and sharpshooters were posted on campus rooftops.
Akio Robrecht, 27, of Blacksburg, said Morva was a couple years behind him in school. Morva "seemed like a nice, quiet kid," he said. "It's kid of hard to believe."
Earlier in the day, Sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin was closing in on Morva along a trail just off the 2,600-acre campus when Sutphin was fatally shot, the sheriff's department said.