VA Tech officials alerted their families, but not public, as shooting unfolded
During the April, 2007, massacre that took the lives of 32 people, officials at Virginia Tech alerted their own family members that a gunman was on the loose, but kept the information from the student body for a full hour-and-a-half, the New York Times reported Friday morning.
The newspaper also stated that a revised report from the university showed that, in one case, officials with the school’s Policy Group released students in a residence from a lockdown and allowed them to attend class even as the shooter, Seung Hui-Cho, was still on the loose. Two of the students who were released from lockdown were killed.
The Times reports:
The report indicates that students who were initially locked down at West Ambler Johnston residence hall, where the spree began, 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.
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.
[T]he new report said the local police took more than half an hour longer than was initially believed to begin looking for a suspect, a fact first reported by The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The new report also said university officials failed to contact the family of the shooter’s first victim, Emily Hilscher, for more than three hours, until after she had died. Ms. Hilscher survived for some time after being shot and was transported to two different hospitals before she died.
Read the full Times story here.