Accessibility links

Breaking News

Virginia Governor Forms Panel to Probe College Massacre

The governor of the eastern U.S. state of Virginia has formed an independent panel to investigate Monday's deadly shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech.

Governor Tim Kaine announced the panel's creation Thursday. He said the panel will probe all aspects of the shootings, including the response time of police and emergency medical responses to the tragedy. It will also look at whether school officials and authorities could have done more to help the gunman, Cho Seung-hui, once they became aware of his mental health problems.

Cho was briefly committed to a private mental health facility in December 2005, after he was investigated for allegedly stalking two female students.

Governor Kaine has declared Friday a statewide day of mourning for the victims of Monday's tragedy.

The governor says Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, will serve on the panel.

Meanwhile, investigators in Virginia say they did not find any vital evidence in the package of photos, writings and video Cho sent to NBC News. The gunman included pictures of himself posing with guns and a hate-filled video message in the package. In the video, he states his grievances and blames others for the carnage he later inflicted.

Cho mailed the package between the shooting deaths of two students at a residence hall and the fatal shootings of 30 other students and faculty members in a classroom building. NBC received the package from Cho Wednesday, two days after the killings. NBC News decided to air excerpts of the video after turning over the material to law enforcement officials.

The superintendent of the Virginia state police, Steve Flaherty said he was disappointed NBC decided to air the images.

The provost of Virginia Tech announced Thursday that the students killed Monday will be awarded posthumous degrees at the graduation ceremonies they would have attended.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP .