The killing triggered a crisis notification system that was revamped after the shooting rampage, beaming an electronic warning around 7:45 p.m. that students should stay in place while police investigated. Students were told about an hour later they could resume normal activity.
A male suspect was taken into custody around 7:10 p.m., according to a university news release. Campus police responding to an emergency call found the man and a knife they believe was used at the scene, a cafe in the Graduate Life Center.
Both the victim and the suspect are graduate students at Virginia Tech, and police believe they knew each other, the school said.
Further details weren't immediately released, and university officials didn't immediately return a phone message left seeking comment.
Virginia Tech added text messages and other ways of warning students of possible danger to its system of e-mail alerts after gunman Seung-Hui Cho took 32 lives before turning the gun on himself in an April 2007 rampage.
The revamped alert system was first used last November when an exploded cartridge from a nail gun produced sounds similar to gunfire near a dormitory. During that scare, police searched a residence hall before determining the sounds came from the tool.