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Attorney criticizes Va. Tech response to shootings
Attorney for victims' families criticizes Virginia Tech's shooting response in trial opening
By The Associated Press

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) ' An attorney representing the state in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the mass shooting at Virginia Tech five years ago is defending the school's actions on that day.

In opening statements Tuesday, attorney Peter R. Messitt said police believed that the first two shootings at a dormitory on the Blacksburg campus were a domestic dispute and that the gunman posed no threat.

Messitt said if Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum believed the killings posed a threat to students, he would have sounded a campus-wide alert. In hindsight, Messitt says the conclusion was wrong.

Attorneys representing the families of two victims of the April 16, 2007, rampage criticized administrators' actions. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people before killing himself.

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