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Earlier notice might have saved lives at Va. Tech

August 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

RICHMOND, VA. — Virginia Tech officials might have saved lives if they had notified faculty and students sooner about the first two shootings on campus, a governor's review panel said in its report on the shootings 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," said the report, which was released late Wednesday night.

The report also concluded that while gunman Seung-hui Cho had demonstrated numerous signs of mental instability, the university did not intervene effectively.

The panel sharply critiqued the university's counseling center, where Cho was referred for treatment in 2005 after reports of bizarre behavior and concerns that he was suicidal.

The panel concluded that the counseling center failed to provide necessary support and services to Cho, due to a lack of resources, misinterpretation of privacy laws and passivity.

The report also noted that records of Cho's "minimal treatment" at the counseling center were missing.

"The university body was not put on high alert by the actions of the university administration and was largely taken by surprise by the events that followed," the report said.

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