Virginia Tech Massacre 'Could Have Been Stopped'

Official report says college should have warned students of shootings
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2007 5:35 AM CDT
Virginia Tech Massacre 'Could Have Been Stopped'
Michael Herbstritt, father of Jeremy Michael Herbstritt, is embraced by a Virginia Tech faculty member as he accepts a posthumous graduate degree for his son during a graduation ceremony at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Friday, May 11, 2007. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people, including Jeremy Michael...   (Associated Press)

A state investigation into the Virginia Tech massacre, in which 33 students and teachers were killed, concluded that college authorities could have saved lives by acting more quickly to warn students after the first shootings. The report, released last night after the New York Times obtained a copy,  also criticizes the college's failure to insure that gunman Seung-Hui Cho received counseling after a mental-hospital stay.

The killer had been briefly committed by a judge who deemed him a risk, but, in what the report calls a misunderstanding of federal privacy laws, his parents were not notified and and he was allowed to return to classes without follow-up counseling. Once the shooting began, a quicker response might have cut the death toll, the report says, but not prevented the tragedy. (More Virginia Tech stories.)

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