Panel to Review Response to Va. Tech Shootings

Panel mixes security, education, medicine, law and psychiatric experts


BY Warren Fiske

THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

RICHMOND -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday appointed experts in education, law, psychiatry, emergency medicine and homeland security to a commission that will review the response to Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech.

"The primary purpose is to learn all we can and make recommendations to get better," Kaine said during an afternoon news conference. "The primary purpose is not blame. It's not to point fingers. It's not recrimination."

The governor charged the eight-member panel to:

- "Find out everything we can" about Cho Seung-hui, the student who killed 32 people and then killed himself. Kaine said he wanted full information about Cho's interaction with the state's mental health system, warning signs of his behavior problems, and how he purchased his guns and learned to use them.

- Develop a "minute by minute" timeline of Cho's activities Monday morning.

- Investigate all responses to the shootings, including those by university officials, law enforcement officers, emergency medical workers and hospitals.

Kaine said he has not given the commission a specific deadline but hoped it would issue a public report before the start of the fall semester.

Heading the panel is Gerald Massengill, who spent 3˝ years as superintendent of the State Police before retiring in 2003. Massengill oversaw the state's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon and to a pair of snipers who terrorized Northern Virginia a year later.

Also named to the commission were Tom Ridge, former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security; Gordon Davies, former director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; Roger L. Depue, a former FBI expert in behavioral sciences and violent crime; Aradhana A. "Bela" Sood, a child psychiatrist at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Marcus L. Martin, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia.

Kaine said he plans to make two additional appointments to the panel: a retired judge with expertise in mental health law; and an authority in services to victims.

* Gerald Massengill, chairman, retired in 2003 as superintendent of the state police after working on the force for 37 years. He oversaw the state's response to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon in 2001 and to a pair of snipers who killed Virginians in 2002. Was interim director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in 2005.

* Tom Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor and congressman who served as the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003-05.

* Gordon Davies, director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia from 1977 to 1997. Was president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education from 1998 to 2002.

* Roger L. Depue, former administrator of the FBI National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime and now a consultant for research and investigation of aberrant and violent behavioral problems.

* Aradhana A. "Bela" Sood, chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University and medical director of the Virginia Treatment Center for Children at VCU Medical Center.

* Marcus L. Martin, assistant dean for the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia and a professor of emergency medicine.