- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

RICHMOND | Some relatives of those killed and wounded in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech don’t want to see the panel that reviewed the catastrophe reconvened, Gov. Tim Kaine said Thursday.

Since missing mental health records of student gunman Seung-hui Cho were found two weeks ago, some relatives of Cho’s victims have called for the Virginia Tech Review Panel to be reassembled.

Mr. Kaine said on his monthly radio program on WRVA-AM in Richmond and the Virginia News Network that any of the panelists who wanted to help were welcome. The panel, appointed by Mr. Kaine, was chaired by former state police Superintendent W. Gerald Massengill and included Tom Ridge, the nation’s first homeland security secretary.

“These were all volunteers, and I can’t compel them to be involved - and I’m not sure that all want to be - and I also have some family members who are saying that, frankly, they don’t want to go through it again,” Mr. Kaine said.

“I am dealing with a situation where some of the family members are saying, ‘I really don’t want to go through a new investigation of this. We know who the perpetrator is,’ ” Mr. Kaine said.

The report issued in September 2007 is being updated and corrected by the outside staff of professionals who worked with the appointed panel members to compile the original.

That report highlighted flaws in Virginia’s mental health system and gaps in state law that hid Cho’s history of mental illness from background checks that licensed firearms dealers perform on purchasers. Cho bought two handguns he used to kill 32 people and then commit suicide as police closed in on the Blacksburg campus April 16, 2007.

The panel’s report was the basis for legislative reforms in 2008 that arose from the Virginia Tech slayings, the worst campus shootings in U.S. history.

Records of Cho’s treatments at the Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech vanished in February 2006, more than a year before the shootings. A criminal investigation, which is still ongoing, failed to turn them up. The former director of the counseling center, Dr. Robert Miller, found them two weeks ago in his home in a box of material he took from his desk as he left his job there.

Dr. Miller, in a statement issued last week by the attorney representing him in lawsuits brought by families of two slain students, said he inadvertently boxed up Cho’s records and those of several other students on his last day at the campus clinic.

The attorney, Ed McNelis, said Dr. Miller opened the box for the first time July 16 while searching for material that could be relevant to the lawsuit.

Mr. Kaine said the review panel’s professional staff will examine Cho’s records once they are released and include anything new they reveal about the troubled Virginia Tech senior in the amended report.

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