I was… in the Richmond Police Homicide Unit

On April 16, 2007, I was working in the Richmond City Police Department Homicide Unit and had been assigned there for 4 years.

I had overseen hundreds of murder investigations during this time period. Each and every murder bothered me. None of them made any sense and the aftermath of the crime always
led to tremendous pain and suffering by loved ones who were left behind. Senseless violence, often-innocent victims, and non-stop pain and suffering for loved ones.

When I initially heard the first news account of the Tech massacre that day, I knew it was more tragic than what was being reported. In the immediate aftermath of a major tragedy such as this, estimates of the number of victims provided by law enforcement are preliminary as all available personnel are investigating the crime, working to secure the campus and checking and rechecking all information before it is released.

I immediately thought of parents who were probably frantic, trying to get some kind of response or confirmation that their child was ok. I could not imagine who on earth would want to inflict so much pain and suffering on helpless innocent kids. I then thought of the heroic officers who had to respond to the scene and work through the horror that was all around them.

I am now responsible for the safety of the students, faculty, and staff at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. The Virginia Tech mass killings influence and drive my decision making here at VCU. I constantly ask my staff as we navigate through all types of campus-related incidents “is there any ongoing risk forstudents?”

What happened at Tech has prepared me to be ready to deal with any situation on campus at any time, as well as to hope and pray that horrific events don’t happen here at VCU.

I have met and now call Chief Wendell Flinchum of the Virginia Tech Police Department a colleague and a friend. Chief Flinchum is an amazing man that has contributed his heart and soul to the students and the institution Virginia Tech. They are lucky to have his courage and leadership.