The family of Erin Nicole Peterson, a Westfield High School graduate, have won a $4 million lawsuit against Virginia Tech for the school's allegedly negligent response to the 2007 shootings on campus.
Peterson died in the shootings that day, but her family argued in court that she might be alive if the school had warned students of the rampage earlier. The jury deliberated for three and a half hours, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, before coming to a decision to award each family $4 million. The lawsuit was filed jointly with the family of another victim, Julia Pryde. The Associated Press reported that the university will appeal the verdict since state law caps damages at $100,000.
The award comes just weeks before the five-year anniversary of the shootings. At Westfield, Peterson was captain of the basketball team. Each year, her family and the community honors her memory with a gospel celebration at Centreville's Mount Olive Baptist Church and a golf tournament.