“Police said he unleashed 170 rounds on the classrooms of Norris Hall during a nine-minute rampage. Thirty people were killed in the building; more were wounded.
During those shooting, police spent three minutes rushing to the building and then about five minutes breaking through the building’s doors, which Seung-Hui Cho had chained.
The five minutes police spent breaking into the building proved to be crucial as Cho moved through Norris Hall unimpeded.
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.” (Emphasis mine.)
Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that was your JOB. God forbid that officers actually put their lives on the line so that others might live. I guess they’re too busy busting poker games and shooting 92 year olds during drug raids. Is that a cheap shot? Yes. But I’m pretty damn pissed off at this notion that police need to wait until it’s “safe” before entering a situation.
As for the fact that he chained the doors shut, there are ways of getting chained doors open. From the same article:
Tom Corrigan, former member of a terrorism task force and a retired New York City detective, said five minutes seems like a long time when gunfire is being heard, but he added it’s tough to second-guess officers in such a chaotic situation.
“I would have liked to have seen them bust down the door, smash windows, go around to another door, do everything to get inside fast,” he said. “But it’s a tough call because these officers put their lives on the line on a daily basis and I am sure they did the best they could.”
Al Baker, a former 25-year veteran in the New York Police Department, echoed that sentiment, but said sometimes officers have to do whatever is necessary to enter a building â€” whether it’s throwing a rock through a window or driving a car through the door. He said the crucial issue is ensuring that officers have the proper training and equipment.
And that’s the crux of the matter. These officers didn’t have the training or mindset to respond to this type of a situation. You take the first four officers that arrive on scene and go in. Period. No ifs ands or buts. It’s your JOB. When you put on the badge and strapped on a sidearm, you supposedly took on a responsibility to protect those you serve. Unfortunately, even in a post-Columbine world, it seems some cops still don’t take that responsibility seriously.
Just remember this the next time someone says that the proper response to a threat is to call the police and wait. They do a great job of investigating bodies, but they’re a little weak on the response side, unless the threat is willing to politely wait for 8 minutes.
I suppose I shouldn’t be too upset. It is an improvement, after all. At least they didn’t wait 40 minutes before “clearing” the building.