UPDATE TO THE BELOW: The Campus lockdown has been lifted at Virginia Tech. However, the gunman has not yet been found. Continued prayers…MH.

For those not following the news today, Virginia Tech reports two people a campus police officer and a student have been shot and killed on campus after a traffic stop…

That’s not the worst news.

The gunman is still at large with a description of him wearing a maroon sweatshirt…the colors of the University. That won’t help and thus, the University is on lockdown. Finals scheduled for tomorrow have been cancelled. The gunman apparently shot a cop and then fled through a parking lot on foot where later they found a second person dead.

Fr. John Grace, the director of Catholic Campus Ministry at Virginia Tech is fine for those of you worried about him. I just got off the phone with him and he is hunkered down in the Newman Center with a bunch of students who as he said “aren’t going anywhere.”

He informed me that he was having lunch with a first year student when the sirens started going off and then an announcement that told everyone to take shelter. He was able to get back to the Newman Center where students studying there have been forced to stay there.

Fr. Grace said “I found out today that I’d be a very protective parent.”

The possibility exists that the school may be on lockdown for some time because the last time when that horrible shooting happened there the university failed to secure students by alerting them properly. Text messages followed the sirens almost immediately according to Fr. Grace who thought the sirens initially were a drill, especially since it wouldn’t disturb classes on this a reading day.

“Then everyone started looking at their phones.” Fr. Grace said. “And you just knew that this was something bad.”

So say a few prayers for the Hokies and for all the law enforcement folks looking for the shooter and the people who have died along with their families.

I somewhat know what it’s like to be in that kind of a helpless situation. We had an apparent gunman here at UB last year that was never found and the eeriness of that day stayed with me for some time. Fortunately I was on the South Campus, somewhat removed from the situation on the North Campus, but the fallout over the next few days was so surreal. We all looked over our shoulders the following day and for some time.

Will the madness ever end? Fr. Grace said they might not be able to have mass on Sunday because there won’t be any way they could have a public assembly with a gunman on the loose.

Continued prayers…for peace.