Third version of Va. Tech massacre report released
Officials said errors were made in a previous account released last month
RICHMOND, Va. — A third version of a report about the Virginia Tech massacre was issued Wednesday after university officials said errors were made in a previous account released last month.
Some families, however, said Virginia's outgoing governor was bending to university demands, and that additional revisions were needed.
Gov. Timothy Kaine's office made the report public a day after relatives of those killed and wounded in the April 16, 2007, shootings received copies. Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said no further changes were anticipated.
That news upset some of the families.
"I'm sure that the people in Virginia are so sick and tired of hearing about what happened on April 16th ...," said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was injured. "We don't want to waste the taxpayers' money by doing so, but we want the truth out there so hopefully nobody else has to go through this again."
Addendum co-author Philip Schaenman said the revisions show officials are "bending over backwards to try to have the record as accurate as possible and share additional information." It doesn't change the report's conclusions or recommendations on how universities and other organizations can handle similar events.
Schaenman said emergency management officials nationwide are now able to use the Virginia Tech report to help respond to incidents and reduce potential deaths.
The slayings left 32 people and killer Seung-Hui Cho dead. The university was criticized for not notifying the campus of the shootings sooner, and for not intervening when the student gunman displayed troubling behavior before the slayings.
Schaenman, president of security consulting firm TriData Corp. and head of the Kaine-appointed panel that issued the report in August 2007, said the latest revisions corrected two events in the timeline of the shootings along with a statement that campus and Blacksburg, Va., police lacked experience with homicides.
One item in the December addendum stated that the school's head lobbyist ordered President Charles Steger's office to be locked after the initial dormitory shootings. The report has been corrected to read that he requested his own office be locked. The president's office doors remained open, the report said.
Schaenman also said he erroneously wrote that members of the policy group, which determines the school's emergency-response plan, called their family members before the rest of the school was notified. He said the two employees were assistants to policy group members. He said he also neglected to specify that they weren't actual decision makers.
The latest revision also adds more detail about those two officials' conversations with family members. One official advised her son to go to class. The other told her relative that she'd need extended baby-sitting because she was needed at work because of the shootings.
Mike White, whose daughter Nicole was killed, said many families still seek accountability from the university. Several are starting their own Web site to outline issues they think should be included in the report, including failures by the university to properly inform the campus about the shootings.
"Unfortunately it was not intended to be a historical document, but at this point it is, so it needs to be accurate," White said.
Kaine's spokesman said the governor has been responsive to the families and worked with them on passing mental health legislation.
"All of that has been carefully gone over with a great deal of respect for the families and a great deal of research," Hickey said. "There is nothing more to say."