By DENA POTTER
Associated Press Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Relatives of the student gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus turned over his mental health records to a gubernatorial panel investigating the shootings, the panel's chairman said Thursday.
Federal privacy laws governing health and student information had prevented the panel from reviewing Seung-Hui Cho's records. Panel Chairman W. Gerald Massengill had said he would go to court if necessary to obtain them.
"This is not all the records that we will need," Massengill told The Associated Press on Thursday, "but this is certainly some that we felt a strong need to take a look at."
University spokesman Larry Hincker said the family turned over Cho's mental health records on Tuesday. Massengill said they were delivered to the panel on Wednesday, but that he had not yet examined them.
Virginia Tech officials had been in negotiations with the family since the panel met in Blacksburg in May, Hincker said. Panel members have expressed frustration at state and school officials, who have said they couldn't turn over Cho's medical, mental health or scholastic records because federal privacy laws protect people even after death.
Cho killed himself on April 16 shortly after a shooting rampage in which he killed two students at a Virginia Tech dormitory and 30 other students and staff inside a classroom building. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)