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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Panel to Examine Massacre Handling

RICHMOND, Virginia -- A state panel's inquest into a massacre at Virginia Tech will examine far more than what happened during the two hours between slayings on the campus, an official picked to head the panel said.

Retired State Police Superintendent W. Gerald Massengill said Wednesday that it was premature to judge school officials' decision not to order a campuswide lockdown after the first shootings.

"I'm not going into it with any preconceived notions of what was proper or what was improper," he said in a telephone interview. "It will be driven by what information they had at the time."

Massengill, who oversaw the state police response to the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the Washington-area sniper attacks, is the only person named to the panel so far.

Authorities say Cho Seung-hui, a 23-year-old English major, killed two people in a dormitory around 7:15 a.m., but no campuswide lockdown was in place when he fatally shot 30 other people two hours later in an academic hall one kilometer away.

Massengill neither defended nor criticized the decision but said it would be one focus of his panel's review after police finished their criminal investigation.

In images mailed to the television network NBC midway through his rampage, Cho delivered a snarling, profanity-laced tirade about rich "brats" and their "hedonistic needs."

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," Cho says. "But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."

NBC said the package contained a rambling and often incoherent 23-page written statement, 28 video clips and 43 photos. Several of the photos showed him aiming handguns at the camera.

The package arrived at NBC headquarters in New York and was opened Wednesday, two days after Cho killed 32 people and committed suicide. It bore a time stamp showing that it had been mailed at a local post office at 9:01 a.m. Monday, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho first opened fire.

The package helped explain one of the biggest mysteries about the massacre: where the gunman was and what he did during the two-hours between the first burst of gunfire, in a dorm, and the second attack, in an academic building.

"Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats," says Cho, a South Korean immigrant whose parents work at a dry cleaners in suburban Washington. "Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust funds wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."