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Two more families of shooting victims, another injured student notify MSU of intent to sue

 MSU stone sign
Reginald Hardwick

An injured survivor and the families of two victims who were fatally wounded in the February 13th shooting on Michigan State University's campus have taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit against the school.

They say MSU failed to fix problems that could have helped protect students.

MSU was served with a notice of intent to sue Friday. It’s a legal requirement before the case is allowed to proceed. It can also set the stage for settlement negotiations.

The notice says MSU officials knew about but did nothing to fix security risks in the buildings where the shooting occurred.

MSU was served with the notice by the families of Arielle Anderson and Brian Fraser, who were both killed, and by Hanyang Tao, who survived but was seriously injured. This brings the number of plaintiffs with shooting-related actions filed with the Michigan Court of Claims to seven.

The filing says the “defects constituted a dangerous or defective condition on the premises” that MSU could have addressed.

The notice goes on to describe a lengthy list of complaints alleging MSU failed to have safeguards in place to address an active shooter on campus. It says MSU failed to have an emergency alert system and the ability to remotely lock all doors on campus and to lock doors from the inside in the buildings where the shootings occurred. Also, that some faculty complained the campus was unprepared to deal with an active shooter.

In a statement, MSU says it’s engaged in conversations with families “to identify ways to provide ongoing support” and “is committed to keeping those lines of communication open.”

“We are heartbroken and sorry for the tragic loss of life and each person harmed by senseless gun violence,” a statement from MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said.

WKAR’s Arjun Thakkar contributed to this report.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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