Report Shows School Didn't Intervene Effectively

By: T.J. Winick, ABC News
By: T.J. Winick, ABC News

A new report on the Virginia Tech massacre says the university did not intervene effectively with the gunman before the April killings.

Records show he had demonstrated plenty of signs of mental instability.

Virginia Tech officials might have saved lives if they had acted sooner. This, according to a panel which investigated the April shooting on campus that left 33 dead. Warning the students, faculty and staff might have made a difference, so the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving.

"Well, I can only imagine the parents of the deceased. I can only imagine how they would feel if the school had been closed," said Anne Goddard, a mother of one of the survivors.

ABC's Bob Woodruff asked the parents of surviving students if they thought a campus-wide lock-down would have made a difference.

"Their children would not have been in those classrooms," Goddard continued.

The panel sharply criticized the university's counseling center, where the shooter Seung-Hui Cho was referred for treatment after concerns he was suicidal. During Cho's junior year at Virginia Tech, numerous incidents occurred that were clear warnings of mental instability, the university did not intervene effectively.

"I think there's a lot of instances where information was out there, that different people had information, where it needed to be put together. I think that is going to be a significant feature of the report," Virginia Governor Tim Kaine explained.

The eight-member panel, appointed by the governor, discovered that Cho showed signs of mental illness as far back as middle school.

"I'm troubled that a student who had talked about Columbine at an earlier point in his life, that that information was unknown to anyone on the Va. Tech campus," Kaine added.

The report concludes that an actual lock-down of campus buildings would have been impractical and probably ineffective in stopping the 23-year-old shooter.

It took over two hours after the initial shootings in a Virginia Tech dorm to send out a school-wide alert.

According to an independent investigation, that might have been the difference between life and death.


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