(Reuters) - A lone gunman opened fire on Friday at a community college campus located in a southwestern Virginia shopping center, wounding two women before he was arrested and prompting an evacuation of the mall, police said.
The shooting erupted shortly before 2 p.m. local time at a satellite campus of New River Community College in Christiansburg, a town on the fringe of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 28 miles southwest of Roanoke.
The college campus lies at one end of the New River Valley Mall.
One of the victims was airlifted and the second was taken by ambulance to a hospital, the Christiansburg Police Department said in a statement, adding that no information about the women’s condition or identities was immediately available.
The suspect, a man whose identity authorities did not disclose, was taken into custody and was being questioned by investigators, police said.
The mall was cleared of shoppers and employees as officers searched the complex to ensure there were no further victims or possible suspects, though police said they believed the accused gunman had acted alone.
Area schools were also briefly placed on a security lockdown as a precaution. A message posted on the website of the shopping center in the afternoon stated: “New River Valley Mall is currently closed until further notice.”
The incident marked the second shooting scare at a U.S. college on Friday.
Earlier in the day, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro was locked down for several hours in response to reports of a gunman spotted near a classroom building. But that lockdown was later lifted with no shots fired.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Scott Malone, David Gregorio and Bob Burgdorfer