Families issue statement about Virginia Tech shooting lawsuit
By Shawna Morrison
parents of two students killed in the Virginia Tech shootings say they filed lawsuits against the state, the school and many officials in the hopes of finally revealing the whole truth about April 16, 2007.
The families of Julia Kathleen Pryde and Erin Nicole Peterson filed suits in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Thursday, the second anniversary of the shootings and the deadline for litigation. Of the 48 families that filed notices of claim with the state, leaving the option of litigation open, only the families of Pryde and Peterson did not agree to a state settlement that barred them from later filing suit.
In a statement Friday, Celeste and Grafton Peterson and Harry and Karen Pryde said they respect the decisions of the families who accepted the settlement, but that they decided “that agreeing to settle before we knew the full truth was not appropriate for us.”
In the statement, the families wrote: "We raised our daughters with a sense of integrity, a desire to seek the truth and a belief in keeping their word. Virginia Tech did not keep its word to us. We have filed this lawsuit in the hope that we will receive accountability for the tragic events of April 16, 2007.
"The faculty and students at Virginia tech have been extremely supportive of the families during this difficult time. Erin and Julia loved Virginia Tech and they felt at home there and were receiving a wonderful education. But, on April 16, 2007 the administrators who ran the university let our daughters down in ways we are just now learning.
"Sadly, the Report of the (Virginia Tech) Review Panel to the Governor, issued in August 2007, contained important inaccuracies, despite the panel’s best efforts to get to the truth. University officials, it now appears, may have been less than candid and forthright in their responses to the questions put to them by the panel."