The shortest news conference

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 05:44 pm ET by Bill Dedman,

April 18: Col. Steve Flaherty, of Virginia State Police, and Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker talk about photographs, videos and writings sent to NBC by the gunman.

It was the shortest news conference on record, and it ended with reporters yelling after the Virginia Tech spokesman as he fled the room.

It began somberly, with spokesman Larry Hincker reading a list of victims who have been newly identified.

Then came the surprise: Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of Virginia State Police, announced that NBC in New York had received a package sent by Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman who killed 32 students and teachers on Monday before taking his own life. Inside were photos, video and writings by the killer, he said.

"This may be a very new, critical component of this investigation. We're in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth," said Flaherty.

He gave no details, and then left the room with other police officials without answering questions.
"We're here to ask questions," one reporter complained.

After the police officials left, spokesman Hincker said that the university couldn't answer any questions, on any topic, until the police had time to analyze the new material. And he left, too, rushing past the reporters.

Reporters wanted to ask more about the university's handling of Cho's mental health issues, among other topics. Perhaps on Thursday.

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As officials, students and families struggle to come to terms with the tragedy at Virginia Tech, a team of reporters and editors and NBC News producers and correspondents is on the scene.