Everything was in place to warn the Virginia Tech campus on the morning of April16, 2007, but no one issued a warning. The school had all the means necessary to alert and lockdown the campus, but school officials dithered over wording and alert.
Over two and one half hours elapsed between the double homicide and the mass murder in Norris Hall. There was plenty of time to warn and to lockdown. But the school did next to nothing. So, to this day the basic question remains unanswered, why didn't the university issue a warning?
Virginia Tech had warned many times before. Indeed, a scant eight months before the Tech rampage, the school administration had set a standard for warning the university community. In the fall of 2006, a prisoner in the Blacksburg jail, William Morva, escaped and killed two people. There was no indication that Morva was on or near the campus, yet Virginia Tech warned and locked the campus down.
On April 16, 2007, there was a double murder in the middle of the campus. Thirteen bloody foot prints led from the crime scene to an exit stairwell; there were spent bullet shells on the floor but no weapon. The school issued no warning even though it was obvious the killer was on the loose. Had a lockdown of the campus been implemented, lives would have been saved. The administrative failure allowed two students to go to their French class where they were among the first of the 30 students and teachers killed in Norris Hall.
The identity of who was in charge is critical to understanding what happened on April 16, 2007. And those in charge who did not act should be held accountable. There are two men who had the authority to warn—then-President Charles Steger and then-Virginia Tech Chief of Police Wendell Flinchum. A strong argument can be made that the inaction of these two men led to the death of 30 people in Norris Hall and the wounding of 17 others.
No one, or no organization was willing to hold the two men accountable for their inaction.
One of the most egregious failures in dealing with accountability was the Virginia Supreme Court, which introduced false evidence (breaking the law) in overturning the jury decision holding Virginia Tech accountable for incompetence.
Virginia Supreme Court Justice Powell’s decision incorrectly says the Blacksburg Police Department was in charge of the investigation on the morning of April 16th. That is not true. Under sworn testimony both the Blacksburg and school police chiefs testified it was the Virginia Tech Police Chief who was in charge.
The Court is entitled to its opinions, but not its own facts. (To be continued)