News24

Virginia Tech officials 'acted properly'

2012-03-14 16:06

Christiansburg - The state rested its case on Tuesday after witnesses in a wrongful death lawsuit testified that Virginia Tech officials acted properly on April 16 2007, when a lone gunman killed 32 on the Blacksburg campus and then himself.

Circuit Judge William Alexander later adjourned the trial for the day and told jurors to return to court on Wednesday to hear closing arguments and to begin their deliberations.

Attorneys for the state, the lone defendant in the civil trial, presented only a fraction of the 50 potential witnesses they had listed in court filings. Lawyers for the parents of two students slain in the attacks planned to present a rebuttal witness.

The defence called to the stand Virginia Tech officials, police and experts on campus security who all agreed that Tech police and school administrators did the right thing when they concluded the first two shootings were domestic and isolated.

As a result, they delayed alerting students and faculty on campus because they believed the dorm attack was targeted and the gunman did not pose a threat to the wider campus.

Cover-up

Less than three hours later, Seung-Hui Cho chained the doors to Norris Hall and killed 30 students and faculty in the classroom building. He then killed himself.

University officials have said there was no way to anticipate the deadliest campus shootings in modern US history.

The parents of students Julia K Pryde and Erin Nicole Peterson disagree. They persisted in bringing the lawsuit because they believe their daughters would have survived Cho's attack if the campus had known of the first two shootings, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of both victims.

Attorneys for the parents, who are each seeking $100 000, also contend President Charles W Steger and other university officials attempted to cover their missteps. They have denied that.