A newly revised version of Virginia's official report on the Virginia Tech (VT) massacre provides new details on how police and university officials responded to the initial discovery of the first two shooting victims, reports The New York Times.
The decision by police to allow students to attend class from the residence hall where the first double murder occurred unknowingly put them in the cross hairs of student Cho Seung-Hui .
The report indicates that students who were initially locked down at West Ambler Johnston residence hall, where the first two victims were killed, were later released from the building by the police and allowed to attend their 9 a.m. classes. Two of those students then went to class in Norris Hall, where they were killed by the shooter.
The police released the students living at the residence hall because of a tragically flawed assumption, according to the revised VT report obtained by the Times. "They did not take sufficient action to deal with what might happen if the initial lead proved erroneous," the report states. "The police reported to the university emergency Policy Group that the 'person of interest' probably was no longer on campus."
But the shooter Cho left the residence hall and eventually went on a rampage inside Norris Hall. He murdered 30 more people, including students and teachers. The massacre was the worst on a U.S. university campus in history.
The Times also reports that some university officials informed their own family members of the shooting before the campus was notified. The university president's office was also locked down well before the campus officially learned of the shooting.
At least two members of the university’s Policy Group, which was assembled to manage the crisis, let their own families know of the first two shootings, in the residence hall, more than 90 minutes before the group warned the rest of the campus. The new report also says that the university president’s office was locked down about 30 minutes before a formal warning was issued to the rest of the campus.
Despite the new details of that day, Gov. Tim Kaine and TriData, the company that performed the investigation for Virginia, said these additions did not effect the report's original conclusions and recommendations.
♦ Photo of VT candlelight vigil by alka3en/Flickr