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At the Virginia Tech campus, thousands of people silently filled the Drillfield for a candlelight vigil Friday night to remember Officer Crouse, a firearms and defense instructor with a specialty in crisis intervention. He had been on the campus force for four years, joining it about six months after the April 16, 2007 massacre.

Officer Crouse was a member of the Army Reserves who served a year in Iraq beginning in March 2004, according to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. He was assigned to active duty service at Fort Hood, Texas from October 1993 until July 1996, where he was listed as an M1 armor crewman, or tank operator. From July 1996 to May 2001, Officer Crouse was listed as a motor transport operator with the 316th Sustainment Command in Galax, Va. Officer Crouse’s last rank was staff sergeant.

For about nine months in 2007, Officer Crouse worked as an officer with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at the county’s jail before leaving for the Virginia Tech police, said Capt. Brian Wright, a spokesman with the department.

Those who worked with Officer Crouse remembered him as a “great employee” and a “hard worker,” said Wright, who had worked security with Crouse at Virginia Tech football games.

“He was just very personable, easy to talk to,” Wright said. “Everybody liked him.”

The Friday night vigil included a moment of silence and closed with two trumpeters stationed across the field from each other playing “Echo Taps” as students raised their candles.

“Let’s go!” one student then shouted.

“Hokies!” everyone else responded.

Kathleen O’Dwyer, a fifth-year engineering major at Tech, said it was important to come for Officer Crouse’s family. Officer Crouse was married and had five children and stepchildren.

“Also it’s for the community, to see the violence that happens isn’t what we’re about,” said Ms. O’Dwyer, who will be graduating next week.

Her plans when she leaves school?

“First, go home and hug my mom,” Ms. O’Dwyer said.

Nobody answered the door Friday evening at Ashley’s parents’ home in Spotsylvania County, along the Interstate 95 corridor between Richmond and Washington. The house was dark and no vehicles were in the driveway. The two-story, log cabin-style home in a semi-rural area sits about 200 yards off the road up a narrow gravel drive.

Billie Jo Phillippe, who lives three houses down, said she didn’t really associate with the family.

“They stay off to themselves a lot,” she said. “He was a clean-cut young guy but standoffish.”

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