Backlash from many Including Parents of how VA Tech Shootings Were Handled


It was becoming apparent early in the VA Tech shooting massacre that questions would VA_Teach_shootMapabound as to how the VA Tech Administration and police handed this matter. The first shots were fired at 7:15 AM at West Ambler Johnston Hall. Two people were killed, the Hall was locked down, and a gunman was on the loose. Then at 9:15 AM the carnage truly began as a gunman opened fire in Norris Hall and killed 31 people including himself. Why did campus police allow classes to continue with an unaccounted for gunman on the loose. There was no way of knowing where he could be or what was going through his mind. My not error on the side of caution, wasn’t that our biggest learning lesson from 9–11?

There was no way any one could have known that our countries worst mass shooting would ever have occurred in such a peaceful college setting. However, that is why we are supposed to have policies in procedures in place.

The following are the text of the e-mails that were sent out by Virginia Tech to students and staff following the initial shooting at 7:15AM. Which begs the questions by many, why the delay? Informing the public of danger is a great tool. It would appear that many campuses will have to work on this line of security.

Times according to the time stamps on the e-mails.

- E-mail sent at 9:26 a.m.:

Subject: Shooting on campus.

“A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating.

“The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case. Contact Virginia Tech Police at 231-6411 (read more …)

The tragic carnage appears to have started as a lover’s tiff and escalated into the worse Va_tech_johnstonhallmass shooting murder spree in US history. However, many are scratching their heads as to how this was handed. Why were classes allowed to continue when police knew that there were two students murdered and a killer on the loose? Why the delay in notifying the students as to what originally happened?

Many parents of Virginia Tech students are out raged and are calling for the firing of VA Tech President, Charles Steger and the Police Chief. Every one had to know that it was only a matter of time before this occurred. The Q&A from the press conferences today left much to be desired. The cold hard fact is that 31 innocent people are dead at VA Tech and someone(s) is going to have to be accountable. It is also a matter of time before the law suits reign down upon VA Tech as well.

John and Jennifer Shourds of Lovettsville, Va. demanded the immediate firings of University President Charles Steger and Virginia Tech Campus Police Chief W.R. Flinchum who he said “screwed up” the handling of separate shooting incidents that left 33 students dead, including the shooter.

“My God, if someone shoots somebody there should be an immediate lockdown of the campus,” said John Shourds. “They totally blew it. The president blew it, campus police blew it.”

The Shourds said they received a phone call from their daughter, Alexandra, a freshman at the college in Blacksburg, who was unsure of how to handle a vague university e-mail received around 9:20 a.m. regarding the first shooting incident that happened at the West Ambler Johnston Hall around 7:15 a.m. Later, it was learned that a lone gunman entered that hall, two buildings away from Alexandra’s dorm, and opened fire, killing two people. (Fox News)

 UPDATE I: The Gunman was a VA Tech Student

Virginia Tech’s president said Tuesday that a student was the gunman in at least the second of the two campus attacks that claimed 33 lives to become the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

The University president continued to defend its actions in notifying students and faculty of the earlier shooting; however, it is evident that many had no idea what had transpired earlier that day.

Steger said the university was trying to notify students who were already on-campus, not those who were commuting in.

“We warned the students that we thought were immediately impacted,” he told CNN. “We felt that confining them to the classroom was how to keep them safest.”

He said investigators did not know there was a shooter loose on campus in the interval between the two shootings because the first could have been a murder-suicide.

Two students told NBC’s “Today” show they were unaware of the dorm shooting when they reported to a German class where the gunman later opened fire.

Derek O’Dell, his arm in a cast after being shot, described a shooter who fired away in “eerily silence” with “no specific target — just taking out anybody he could.” (Yahoo News)

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  • Comments

    24 Responses to “Backlash from many Including Parents of how VA Tech Shootings Were Handled”

    1. mayan_moons on April 17th, 2007 2:09 am

      Take Notice Aruba…….

      US police are scrutinized for their actions and NON actions.

      you can see….no one is picking on poor lil Aruba.

      Everyone must be accountable.

    2. Richard on April 17th, 2007 6:39 am

      It’s hard to second-guess the police … in retrospect it’s all too clear what should have been done. Nobody except perhaps the insane animal responsible for this would have known what was about to unfold, any more than you or I knew on September 10, 2001, what would happen the next morning when we went to bed that night.

      However, the results speak for themselves. It’s beginning to seem that one has to assume the worst possible outcome in everything.

      Wonder why they say pabulum like “a shooting incident.” Maybe distancing things with language like this helps reduce their significance. Maybe that’s the idea?

      Anyway, expect congressional hearings and the like. None of which will do any good for the victims or their families.

    3. tex on April 17th, 2007 6:45 am

      what a total screw up by the campus police

    4. robots on April 17th, 2007 7:23 am

      the situation was BOTCHED big time

      how difficult would it have been to put police officer,
      FBI person, Swat team member, sheriff, duputy, forest ranger, or anyone for goodness sakes at the entrance of the near by buildings….what a horror show the way this was handled
      it was handled poorly

    5. Brenda on April 17th, 2007 8:24 am

      Well, now I understand why we can trust SM so much with information from Aruba. They have locals with more insight than those far away. Here’s my insite in the uproar over our local officers who I happen to know many of:

      How many times have I said I worked for a local police department as a dispatcher? Let me explain that Virginia Tech normally has only 1 or 2 dispatchers and a handful of officers on duty at one time. ALSO UDERSTAND that this small county has ONLY about 40 deputies!!! SWAT or special units also come FROM that number.

      Yes, in my neighboring county of Pulaski, we also have 30-40 officers IN TOTAL for 3 shifts. As many as possible assisted with state police (we may have 20 of them available for ALL 3 shifts). So probably 50 – 75 total within the hour onsite was all that was possible.

      In addition, we only have 2 or 3 ambulances per station, and MANY of our stations are extremely remote, so officers were having to leave the scene with the wounded in their vehicles, lower the number onsite. TRUST ME!!! I had to dispatch alone on midnights and it can be overwhelming trying to get officers from neighboring jurisdictions to assist when all are busy and need assistance, so this was so difficult due to lack of resources (who wants higher taxes?? No one…just like to throw blame.)

      Let’s continue….

      Tech is 2600 acres which means if 640 acres is in a sq. mile, this is 4 1/2 square miles to lock down with many dozens of buildings INCLUDING barns and vet school facilities on the outskirts of the campus. There were thousands of kids in transit. Many just walk in and out of campus through town, or come into campus via the literally DOZENS AND DOZENS AND DOZENS of small backroads.

      Ok…now those with brains WILL get this. After shooting #1 we have maybe 20-25 cops onsite…many are supposed to be helping control the crowds, standing by protecting students, they were walking around campus alerting kids to stay in class once it began, but remember, if 10 officers were doing this, it would REALLY take a couple of hours to go throughout the campus. It is massive!!!

      To seal the campus, how many officers to you think would have been needed to block incoming roads?? Would have taken more officers than were even available should 100% of them get in.

      I have taken enough domestic dispute calls. NO ONE expects an angry boyfriend or husband to go and start attacking others. I DO KNOW FROM MY COWORKERS THAT THE OFFICERS ONSITE WERE TOLD THE SHOOTER FLED THE CAMPUS! Even if not, remember this was a student and had they locked down, they’d simply of locked him inside with his weapon. NO way to have stopped this rage-filled young man. It was sooooo simple for him to blend right in and actually remains as one of the protected.

      So see? These officers were screwed either way!! Had they locked down 100%, they’d only locked the shooter right in anyhow.

      Please give these guys credit, they are my neighbors, fathers of my son’s friends, former-corworkers, band booster members (like me), one is a cousin…one is an uncle…they work very hard and are good people who do not deserve to get accused of not being “God” enough to see the unforseeable occur.

      Please keep VA Tech in your prayers.


    6. robots on April 17th, 2007 10:23 am

      looks to me like the banning of guns on campus didnt work

    7. msmarple on April 17th, 2007 11:05 am

      Nothing stops a fanatic on a mission.

    8. Miss-Underestimated on April 17th, 2007 11:44 am

      The question that I have with this, is given the world we live in and these times. What security/safety drills did VT have, I am concerned that after the first reported shootings, that the campus was no kept on lock down.

      I would assume that these large colleges would have some sort of drills for this and it appears VT did not.

    9. R-squared on April 17th, 2007 12:18 pm

      Robots – “Looks to me like the banning of guns on campus didn’t work” Unfortunately it worked very well for the mass murderer (aka – the shooter by the MSM).

      Had law abiding students been allowed to have weapons, the total dead might have been significantly reduced.

      Gun Control. A catch phrase to keep legal weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens. Wake up liberals.

    10. Brenda on April 17th, 2007 12:57 pm

      No, no drills and it is not really the norm. I worked for HCC in Tampa for a time. Had about 40K students enrolled in our 5 locations. We did have test alarms, but it was really to check the fire alarm system. Never one for this sort of thing.

      Remember they had been under the impression this was a murder-suicide, but then based on further interviews on the 1st event, they were told the shooter had fled. No one on this board has probably ever been to Tech. I have and it is so hugh! As I said in a post earlier…4 1/2 square miles with over 100 buildings! Some of them barns out in a field…literally!! Hard to lock anything down.

      Interestingly enough, EVERYONE forgets this was a student and had the college been locked down, he had an access key and would have been considered on of the people being “protected” in the lock-down environment.

      Remember that suicide bombers do not use guns. 911 hijackers did not use guns. The fact this guy was (reportedly) emotionless made him all the less suspicious. Stop 2nd guessing when you are so clueless!

      Remember the event a while back where the gunman took those highschool girls hostage, raped and terrified them? The officers chose (on the information they had at the time) to go into the classroom and one girl was fatally shot. All a bunch of 2nd guessing there too. Please just stop it.


    11. Brenda on April 17th, 2007 1:30 pm

      Rquared..that’s their motive…disarm the valiant to more easily over come them. It’s the socialist way.


    12. robots on April 17th, 2007 2:17 pm

      yep, libs want it so bad guys have guns ONLY

      they are crazy

    13. Miss-Underestimated on April 17th, 2007 2:34 pm


      I am not second guessing. I am thinking that after Columbine that most schools would have implemented a drill or safety measure of some type. I second guess no one, just question.

      BTW it appears this guy may have gotten the arms legally.

    14. Joanie on April 17th, 2007 4:32 pm

      Time after time after time, it all comes out in the media that the individual who went shoot crazy had displayed anger, made threatening remarks and wrote down dangerous things he wanted to do to people. And everytime, everyone discounted this behaviour as just normal complaining. When are we ever going to learn to take this stuff seriousely? And I am just as guilty. My dear friend – a Persian Gulf War Vet – talked about killing himself. I spoke with him often and tried to get him to change the subject. Changing the subject didn’t work; he killed himself on Valentines Day 1993. I DIDN”T LISTEN. We all need to listen more and NOT discount the threatening things people say.

    15. Freebrid on April 17th, 2007 4:34 pm

      Brenda you are correct, the campus is big and he went all the way across campus to begin shooting again. They did not know he was still there. This is sad this had to happen but the first thing everybody starts doing is blaming someone. There always has to be a finger pointed. Before we even knew what was happening or who did media was already playing the blame game!

    16. Brad on April 17th, 2007 4:49 pm

      Everyone, please listen to Brenda, when I saw that poor chief of police guy and the school president stumbling at the press briefing last night I thought, “Oh god, they are going to hang these guys”.
      They strike me as good concerned men and it was almost certainly their concern not to cause undue stress for what looked like a routine (if there can be a routine) incident.
      Fact is this Campus is like a town or even a city, it even has its own airport apparently, unfortunately murders happen in small towns/cities every day, but these are very rarely closed down.
      I have the feeling that many people posting have the vision of the little school building where they started school, two killings in that building and nothing being done about it. It was not like that; this was almost like a murder taking place on one side of town, the killer turning up later on the other side of town and now everyone running around screaming “why did they not close down the whole town”.
      Furthermore the worse thing is the big tough guy from LA who trains special units spouting about how he would have done it etc, this is typical of someone who was not there at the time and furthermore a real shame for someone like that to instantly, in front of the whole world accuse the people that he apparently trains of “screwing up”.
      Not sure what his name was but it was on CNN. He looked tough, the type of guy who even sleeps with the light off.

    17. Richard on April 17th, 2007 7:34 pm

      Brenda, I very much appreciate hearing your comments and getting info from someone who knows the situation at firsthand. We also have to remember, I think, that the “shock value” of this atrocity must have been extreme.

      How many of us … at least those who, like me, live in small towns … would be prepared to react quickly to such insanity? In a way, it would be almost horrible if everyone were prepared at a moment’s notice to deal with such stuff.

      I haven’t read up on this too closely, but is there any evidence that the police knew who the first shooter was? Did they have any reason to suspect this particular person?
      Did they have any idea for whom they were looking?

      In life, things don’t work out as easily as they do on TV.
      Your insights about the number of police available are very interesting. Thanks again.

    18. robots on April 17th, 2007 8:09 pm

      if they would have had all the POLICE TEAMS that were there at 11:00….be there at 8:00
      is my point

      bunches of agents and police were there later in the day
      when they could have been there earlier

      i like cops, im not blaming the cops im blaming the
      decision to not do things earlier

    19. Katablog on April 17th, 2007 9:17 pm

      #6 – I hear you. If you or I heard there had been a domestic incident in town, hopefully we would avoid the area. But we certainly wouldn’t not go to any part of town.

      It’s so unreasonable to Monday morning quarter-back this situation and second guess those that had decisions to make. What if they told everyone to stay put and the gunman ended up being in their residence hall or school building? Would it still have been the University’s fault. It is the gunman’s fault. He was he who committed mass murder.

    20. Miss-Underestimated on April 17th, 2007 9:20 pm

      I think this doesn’t have to do so much with the reaction by LE, but my question is given 9-11, with such a large campus, it baffles me that VT did not have a direct plan to lock down or out the campus, given that they say the killer went back to his dorm after the first shooting . I am not dissing the LE, I am questioning the VT plan of safety.

    21. Allan K on April 17th, 2007 9:55 pm

      I am reading now that the school staff knew this boy had an psychological problem disturbance. He would not go to counseling. Anyway, don’t care if it was 50,000 in my school
      please tell me there has been a shooting on campus.

      What proof had the police that he left the school?
      I think about the warning 2 hours later and probably not the only one?

      If somebody is shot downtown where I live we usually hear news about it pretty quick, especially if he still on the loose.

    22. Allan K on April 17th, 2007 10:00 pm

      OK crucify me now. How could the police think first murder could be suicide without gun?

      He said investigators did not know there was a shooter loose on campus in the interval between the two shootings because the first could have been a murder-suicide.(Yahoo News)

    23. tex on April 18th, 2007 7:05 am

      who reads emails when your in class, my old college campus had a PA system in place for announcements

    24. Virginia Tech Tragedy at Burst Blog on November 8th, 2007 1:22 pm

      [...] Backlash Concerning Many Including Parents of how Shootings Were Handled (Scared Monkeys) [...]

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