Virginia Tech headed to court over April 16th Massacre - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Virginia Tech headed to court over April 16th Massacre

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The only lawsuits against Virginia Tech stemming from the April 16th massacre are heading to court on Monday.

The families of Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde say campus police, university officials and the counseling center failed to protect the students and is directly liable for their murders.

These two families refused to accept the $11 million settlement from the state. Their decision to stand alone and pursue this lawsuit has already changed a great deal of what we know about that fateful day.

The Virginia Tech review panel convened in the months following the shootings, and created a report meant to explain everything that happened the morning of April 16th when Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people, shot 17 more and killed himself.

When the panel finished its report Governor Tim Kaine said, "There was no trial where the story was told so a report like that is telling the story."

Now there will be a trial. The parents of Peterson and Pryde are taking Virginia Tech's top officials to court. The parents say they are seeking the truth.

The Changes:

From warning signs on the walls in classrooms to locks on classroom doors, a lot has changed at Virginia Tech since April.

Most of the families settled with the state in the year following the massacre. Some are now wishing they hadn't.

Suzanne Grimes is the mother of Kevin Sterne, a Tech shooting survivor. She said in August, "Do we regret signing it? Well, yes and no. Why does it take a civil case to get information revealed?"

Since Peterson and Pryde's families filed the civil suit, there have been numerous revelations.

The shooter's long missing medical records were discovered in a box in the home of the former director of the university's counseling center.

Larry Hincker is the university's spokesperson. He said in July 2009: "Does it make people angry? Yeah! I mean I'm angry! I don't think those records should have been there."

The Tech Review Panel's report was updated. We learned, Virginia Tech officials locked down some administrative offices and warned their own families more than an hour and a half before the rest of the campus was alerted

The families of Peterson and Pryde say they want someone at VT held accountable for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

"There is never going to be an answer to this that will just wind it up and finish it because it was just so inexplicable," said Governor Tim Kaine in July 2009

Arguments will be heard over two days starting on Monday morning in Christiansburg at the Montgomery County Courthouse. We will be there and will bring you live reports Monday afternoon.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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