by SARAH RANKIN

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (AP) – A deadly shootout in a parking lot at the University of Virginia killed three people, injured two others and sent police hunting on Monday to look for a student suspected of the att*ck, officials said.

Classes at the school were canceled the day after the shooting, and the Charlottesville campus seemed abandoned as authorities searched for a suspect whom the University of Virginia president Jim Ryan had identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.

In a letter to the university posted on social media, Ryan said the shooting took place around 10.30pm on Sunday.

Emergency leadership at the university issued an alarm on Sunday night, alerting the campus community to the “active firearms of the att*cker.” The message warned students to take refuge on the spot after reports of gunfire fired on Culbreth Road on the northern edge of campus.

On Monday morning, police vehicles blocked access to the shooting site. The city and campus were much quieter than usual with little traffic and walkers.

The UVA Police Department posted a notice on the Internet that many police agencies, including the state police, were looking for a suspect who was deemed “armed and dangerous.”

In a letter to campus, the chancellor of the university said Jones was suspected of committing the shootings and that he was a student who was still at large on Monday morning.

“This is a message no leader hopes will ever have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has struck the University of Virginia,” wrote Ryan. “It’s a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”

In the university’s crisis management Twitter account shortly before 7am on Monday, there was a “complete search of the UVA Grounds grounds” by law enforcement and urged people on campus to remain under shelter.

Eva Surovell, 21, editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, said that after students were notified of an active shooter late Sunday night, she ran to the parking lot but saw that it had been blocked by police . When she went to a nearby intersection, she was ordered to hide in the spot.

“The police officer told me the shooter was nearby and I needed to get home as soon as possible,” she said.

She waited with the other reporters, hoping to get more information, then returned to her room to begin work on the story. The gravity of the situation was overwhelmed.

“My generation is certainly one that grew out of generalized gun violence, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it’s your own community,” she said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents were responding to campus to assist with the investigation.

On April 16, 2007, one of the deadliest shootings in US history took place at another university in Virginia. Twenty-seven students and five faculty members at Virginia Tech were shot dead by Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old mentally ill student who later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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History has been updated to correct that an emergency alarm was issued on Sunday night.

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The Associated Press News Research Center contributed to the development of this report.

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