Police Thought Va. Tech Shootings Had Signs of Domestic Violence

The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), March 13, 2012 | Go to article overview

Police Thought Va. Tech Shootings Had Signs of Domestic Violence


CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. - Law enforcement officials and a campus safety expert on Monday defended the police conclusion on the morning of the Virginia Tech mass killings in April 2007 that the first two shootings had all the signs of domestic violence and not the work of a deranged gunman.

The witnesses testified for the state as it began its defense in a wrongful death civil trial brought by the parents of two of the student victims. The testimony is intended to bolster the claims of Virginia Tech officials that they believed the first shootings did not pose a risk to the wider campus.

The families of Julia K. Pryde and Erin N. Peterson are each seeking $100,000 and official accountability for what they say was the university's slow response to two shootings at a dormitory on the Blacksburg campus of Virginia Tech. Their lawsuit alleges their daughters and other students might have survived the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history if officials had warned the campus of the dorm shootings earlier.

Seung-Hui Cho began his April 16, 2007, campus rampage by shooting Emily Hilscher and Ryan Clark in West Ambler Johnston Hall shortly after 7 a.m. that morning. He then went to his dorm, changed his blood-stained clothing and concluded his carnage 2 { hours later at Norris Hall, a classroom building where he killed 30 student and faculty and them himself.

The state presented testimony from Blacksburg Police Chief Kimberley S. Crannis and two of her officers who were at the scene of the dorm shootings. They all testified that there were no signs of a forced entry to the dorm room where the two were shot, no evidence of drugs and nothing of value missing. …

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