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Va. Tech to release records

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech should release all of its records in the April 2007 campus shootings that left 33 people dead so that others can learn from the events, family members of victims said Thursday.
University officials said Wednesday that they were partially reversing their decision to withhold certain documents related to the shooting rampage by student Seung-Hui Cho.
Under an $11 million settlement with the victims’ families, the school promised to set up a public archive with key facts about the shootings.
‘‘I think there’s so much to learn about the event that I don’t understand why Virginia Tech doesn’t release these, unless they’re worried about their image,’’ said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was among two dozen people injured
University spokesman Larry Hincker said the school will include in the archive some documents from an emergency meeting held by senior officials after two people were shot in a dormitory the morning of April 16, 2007.
Those shootings occurred about 2 1/2 hours before Cho killed 30 others in a classroom building, then took his own life.
Hincker said that the school will release Cho’s academic records, but not his health records.
Police have said they did not intend to release 911 calls from that day, he said.
Families of victims will have first access to the archive, Hincker said, and it will be made public later.
Roger O’Dell, whose son Derek was injured, praised the release of some documents but said, ‘‘The whole story aches to be told.’’
Holly Sherman, whose daughter Leslie was killed, questioned why any of those records should be withheld.
‘‘What are they hiding?’’ she said. ‘‘It just begs more questions, is what it does.’’
Sherman and Grimes said it appeared that Virginia Tech was not honoring its part in the settlement, in which families of victims agreed not to sue the school.
‘‘It’s clearly written that any material related to April 16 would be released to the public,’’ Grimes said.
Two families who did not agree to the settlement have filed notices of possible lawsuits.
All but one set of notes from the administrators’ meeting and records about Cho were withheld from the university’s response to a Richmond newspaper’s request for documents submitted to the families’ lawyers.
The request was made under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
A review of documents released suggested a possible connection between Cho and the fourth floor of the West Ambler Johnston Hall, the site of the first two killings, the newspaper said. A woman who complained to police in 2005 that Cho had stalked her lived there.
The newspaper’s review also showed that one door to Norris Hall, the building where most of the shootings occurred, was unlocked.
Hincker said that door was an underground connection to an adjoining building.
Police officers were delayed getting into the building because the exterior doors were chained.

Va. Tech to release records

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech should release all of its records in the April 2007 campus shootings that left 33 people dead so that others can learn from the events, family members of victims said Thursday.
University officials said Wednesday that they were partially reversing their decision to withhold certain documents related to the shooting rampage by student Seung-Hui Cho.
Under an $11 million settlement with the victims’ families, the school promised to set up a public archive with key facts about the shootings.
‘‘I think there’s so much to learn about the event that I don’t understand why Virginia Tech doesn’t release these, unless they’re worried about their image,’’ said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was among two dozen people injured
University spokesman Larry Hincker said the school will include in the archive some documents from an emergency meeting held by senior officials after two people were shot in a dormitory the morning of April 16, 2007.
Those shootings occurred about 2 1/2 hours before Cho killed 30 others in a classroom building, then took his own life.
Hincker said that the school will release Cho’s academic records, but not his health records.
Police have said they did not intend to release 911 calls from that day, he said.
Families of victims will have first access to the archive, Hincker said, and it will be made public later.
Roger O’Dell, whose son Derek was injured, praised the release of some documents but said, ‘‘The whole story aches to be told.’’
Holly Sherman, whose daughter Leslie was killed, questioned why any of those records should be withheld.
‘‘What are they hiding?’’ she said. ‘‘It just begs more questions, is what it does.’’
Sherman and Grimes said it appeared that Virginia Tech was not honoring its part in the settlement, in which families of victims agreed not to sue the school.
‘‘It’s clearly written that any material related to April 16 would be released to the public,’’ Grimes said.
Two families who did not agree to the settlement have filed notices of possible lawsuits.
All but one set of notes from the administrators’ meeting and records about Cho were withheld from the university’s response to a Richmond newspaper’s request for documents submitted to the families’ lawyers.
The request was made under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
A review of documents released suggested a possible connection between Cho and the fourth floor of the West Ambler Johnston Hall, the site of the first two killings, the newspaper said. A woman who complained to police in 2005 that Cho had stalked her lived there.
The newspaper’s review also showed that one door to Norris Hall, the building where most of the shootings occurred, was unlocked.
Hincker said that door was an underground connection to an adjoining building.
Police officers were delayed getting into the building because the exterior doors were chained.