Jury finds Va. Tech negligent in '07 shootings

By STEVE SZKOTAK | March 14, 2012 | 3:37 PM EDT

Presiding Judge William Alexander reads instructions to the jury in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Christiansburg Va. on Wednesday March 14 2012. Jurors began deliberating Wednesday over a lawsuit filed by the parents of two students slain in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre claiming school officials botched their response when the first reports came in that a gunman was on campus. Attorneys for the university have countered that there was no way to anticipate the man who committed those first two killings April 16 in a dormitory would carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A jury has found Virginia Tech negligent for delaying a campus warning of the first shootings in a 2007 campus massacre that left 33 dead.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday in a wrongful death civil suit brought by the parents of two students who were killed on April 16, 2007, in the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Jurors deliberated for 3 ½ hours.

The families of Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde said the two might be alive today if Virginia Tech police and administrators warned the campus of two shootings in a dorm 2 ½ hours before Seung-Hui Cho (sung wee joh) ended his killing spree, then killed himself.

Virginia Tech officials said they believed the first shootings were isolated.