BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The families of two victims of the Virginia Tech lawsuit have won a multi-million dollar lawsuit. A jury rules the school should have done more to alert students.
Monique Griego has more on this landmark case.
The jury awarded $4 million to the parents of two students killed during the Virginia Tech massacre. One survivor tells WJZ this is a major step forward.
Tears in the courtroom as a jury rules Virginia Tech negligent in the deaths of two students. Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde were among the 32 killed when fellow student Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage on campus in 2007.
“She always put herself in a position to speak for people that were too weak to speak for themselves. She couldn’t speak anymore so we had to do it,” said Celeste Peterson, Erin’s mother.
“We wanted to get a little bit more truth, a little bit of accountability and we weren’t just going to go away,” said Harry Pryde, Julia’s father.
The university waited two and a half hours to notify students of a double homicide inside a residence hall. By that time, Cho was already barricaded inside Norris Hall, where he opened fire in classrooms.
“If I had received word—any sort of word, text message, email, saw a post on the front of the website that there was a double homicide and a gunman on the loose—I would not have gotten in my car and gone to class,” said Colin Goddard.
Goddard was shot four times hiding under his desk. He spoke with WJZ via Skype following Wednesday’s ruling.
“I really hope that this decision does set a precedent and does put students around the country in a safer position,” Goddard said.
The school released a statement saying, “We are disappointed with today’s decision and stand by our long-held position that the administration and law enforcement at Virginia Tech did their absolute best with the information available on April 16, 2007.”
The state has already filed an appeal to reduce the $4 million in damages awarded to the families.
The U.S. Department of Education has also fined Virginia Tech $55,000 for not issuing a timely campus warning. The school is appealing that decision.