Cho’s Five Minute Window

From today’s Washington Post:

During that spree, police spent three minutes rushing to the building and then about five minutes carrying out the complicated process of breaking through the building’s doors, which Seung-Hui Cho had chained.

A timeline of Cho’s morning and the final moments of his life emerged Wednesday during a news conference by police who are still struggling to figure out why the 23-year-old student carried out the rampage.

The five minutes police spent breaking into the building proved to be crucial as Cho moved through Norris Hall unimpeded, with police locked out.

Authorities eventually blew their way into the building, and as they began to rush toward the gunfire on the second floor, Cho put a bullet through his head and died, surrounded by his victims.

State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller praised the officers’ response time, noting that had police simply rushed into the building without a plan, many would have likely died right along with the staff and students. She said officers needed to assemble the proper team, clear the area and then break through the doors.

“If you go in with your backs turned, you’re never going back,” Geller said. “There’s got to be some sort of organization.”

People are second-guessing many decisions that happened at Tech. To a large extent, many of the criticisms of the Tech Administration are monday-mornign quarterbacking driven by people’s grief-fueled need to assign blame. However, the idea that Police took five minutes on the scene to get organized is galling.

Why did they have to go through the doors? Were there no first floor windows they could break into? I don’t know the layout of the building, but one assumes there were alternate entrances availble to highly motivated rescuers.

If I was a cop, I cannot imagine wiating five minutes while ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY rounds were fired. Screw waiting for organization/blowing the doors. I’m going in the window.

Cho evidently killed himself when he heard the cops running up the stairs. Imagine if they had arrived four minutes earlier. How many people would still be alive.

Since my former student was in the last room Cho entered, you can be damn sure that Heidi wouldn’t have taken three rounds.

The police were too cautious. If a crime is ongoing, the first objective should be to put the shooter down.

1 Comment »
polymath said:

If the governmen would allow Concealed Handgun Permit holders to carry on campus and in classrooms, perhaps this tragedy would have fewer victims. Perhaps one, Cho himself. So many died for no good reason that day.



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