Friday, December 13, 2013


Patricia L. Harrington, Clerk of Court
Virginia Supreme Court
P.O. Box 1315
100 North Ninth Street, 5th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219-1315

            Ref: Freedom of Information Request

Ms. Harrington—

With reference to Judge Cleo E. Powell’s opinion issued on October 31, 2013 reversing the jury findings of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Virginia that Virginia Tech had a duty to warn the staff, faculty, and students on April 16, 2007 following the double homicide at West Ambler Johnston Hall, I would like to clear up what appears to be a factual error. On page 2 of Judge Powell’s decision she writes:

            “Although officers from the Virginia Tech Police Department were the first on scene, the Blacksburg Police department led the investigation.”

According to The Governor’s Review Panel Report (the final version known as The Addendum), Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum was in charge and asked the Blacksburg Police Department for assistance in his investigation several times.

           1.   “7:51 a.m.  Chief Flinchum contacts the Blacksburg Police Department (BPD) and requests a BPD evidence technician and BPD detective to assist with the investigation.”

           2.   “8:11 a.m.  BPD Chief Kim Crannis arrives on the scene.”

           3.   “8:13 a.m.  Chief Flinchum requests additional VTPD and BPD officials to assist with securing WAJ entrances and the investigation. He also orders recall of all off-shift personnel.”

            4.   “8:15 a.m.  Chief Flinchum requests the VTPD Emergency Response Tea (ERT) to respond to the scene and then to stage in Blacksburg in the event an arrest is needed or a search warrant is to be

I have found no reference in The Addendum to Blacksburg Police Chief Crannis being put in charge of the investigation.

According to the Incident Command System, a part of FEMA, “a formal transfer of command at an incident always requires a transfer of command briefing for the incoming Incident Commander.”

Would you send me the documents or documentation proving that such a change of command took place so I can correct my research and writing? Specifically, I need to know at what point in time the command passed from Chief Flinchum to Chief Crannis. If you cannot send me the documents, would you tell me where Judge Powell’s assertion came from so I can track down the source?

Thanking you in advance—

                                                                                    Yours sincerely,

                                                                                    David Cariens

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