Local News

Slain Durham teen's family to sue UNC-W

Posted March 13, 2008
Updated October 31, 2008

— The family of a Durham teen killed by a former New Hanover County deputy is planning legal action against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Peyton Strickland, 18, was killed on Dec. 1, 2006, as New Hanover County deputies and UNC-W police raided a rental house in search of two stolen PlayStation 3 video systems.

Strickland, who was unarmed, was shot in the head and in the chest as he went to open the front door, authorities said.

Deputy Christopher Long told investigators he shot when he mistook the sound of a battering ram against the front door for gunshots. UNC-W police had asked for support from New Hanover deputies because they feared the residents of the house were armed and dangerous.

The teen's parents, Don and Kathy Strickland, reached a $2.45 million settlement with New Hanover County last month. In addition to the monetary payment, Sheriff Sid Causey issued a public apology for the shooting and promised to review the policies and procedures of his department's Emergency Response Team.

In a five-page release signed by the Stricklands last week, the family said they plan to file suit against UNC-W for its role in Peyton Strickland's death.

"The (Stricklands) have advised (New Hanover County officials) of their intention to pursue claims for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress arising from the conduct of the UNC-W police department through its agents, servants and employees," the release stated, using legal language.

Long was fired shortly after the shooting, though two grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges.


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  • gordonbabe Mar 14, 2008

    Have they forgotten that this "poor victim" was listed on a warrant because of those stolen playstation 3s? Whether he actually stole them at gunpoint or took them afterwards... regardless. The PD shouldn't have settled to begin with and I certainly hope that UNC-W doesn't give them a dime. Either way it won't bring him back.

  • Through a glass darkly Mar 14, 2008

    "...that arguement is pointless!!" That's why he was fired, so it isn't entirely 'pointless'.

  • uncbabie Mar 13, 2008

    Having known his sister by association, I cannot imagine being her and reading this.

    At the same time, he grew up like my sister. Not the top of the class, but a sweet kid. He did what he did. What happened happened. Suing the university will not solve anything. If everyone was in the right, none of this would have happened. If he hadn't grown up with a "oh we'll look the other way" attitude, it may not have happened either. Welcome to Durham. I'm glad to be out.

  • grayboomerang Mar 13, 2008

    I agree with those who think the kid brought it on himself. Had he been at school to study/get and education/do something with himself, I could understand. But he was more interested in theft.

    Don't they all start that way? Look at the monsters in the Chapel Hill murder, they started out stealing and ended up murderers.

    I guess the original victim should watch out, daddy is probably going to sue him next. It's probably HIS fault for having the play station in the first place.

  • Slip Kid Mar 13, 2008

    "I wouldn't stop until everybody knows what happened to my son!"- mramorak

    IF this was your son, would you have raised him any better? What wouldn't you stop? - Soaking the the innocent and the taxpayer for all the money a sleazy lawyer can get you?

    You could 'not stop' telling your surviving kids and all their friends how doing stupid illegal activities might get you killed, so DON'T DO IT.

    Again, sorry for the family's loss, but make it better by sharing a lesson learned, not ripping off the university.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Mar 13, 2008

    I hate they lost their son but as so many have said earlier suing won't bring him back I don't believe the school system could have done anything to prevent this.

  • wcnc Mar 13, 2008

    What I meant by the What If's being pointless is that it is NOT what happened, so defending your stand by using what if it was a girlfriend, what if it was a child IS POINTLESS!!! That's NOT what happened, so that arguement is pointless!!

    Since I have a spouse who is an LEO, I would assume that the police knew who was in the house at that time.....so that an innocent (which does NOT include Peyton) was not there. Police tend not to do these kinds of raids when the innocents are there. Now, my assuption could be wrong, I will give you that.

    BUT, I know, more than most, how overworked and underpaid LEO's are!!!

    I still feel this lawsuit has NO merit in that UNCW is NOT to blame for their son's death!!

  • Through a glass darkly Mar 13, 2008

    '"To say "what if it were his girlfriend, a child, etc" is pointless.'

    No, that's the entire point. It is the difference between a cowboy and a law enforcement officer -- control of the situation. It is what makes being a police officer hard work (and underpaid for what we ask of them).

  • mugofstout2 Mar 13, 2008

    Kind of silly to pay the family of a felon anything if you ask me. The SD down there should not have paid them a dime. If their child was not a criminal he would not have died, simple as that.

  • snizzake Mar 13, 2008

    so i guess the 2.45 million dollars from NH County isn't enough. they have to go get more from UNCW.... I'm from Wilmington and still pay lots of property taxes in Wilmington, and guess where my tax money is going now? the pockets of this criminal kid's greedy parents!!! i hate lawyers....