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Slain Durham teen's family sues UNC-W

Posted October 31, 2008

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— The family of a Durham teen killed by a former New Hanover County deputy filed a lawsuit on Friday against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and its police department.

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 in February. 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 in March, 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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  • ccacrabbitdog Nov 5, 2008

    another bites the dust......................

  • ridgerunner Nov 3, 2008

    They got 2.45 mil and are going for more.. This is not about justice it is about greed and placing blame elsewhere when it all started when their "good" boy stole playstations rather than buying them. He should not have been shot but what he posted online made the officers think he was dangerous and took measures to protect themselves. When you try to look bad someone will think you are.

  • 68_polara Nov 3, 2008

    This is all so odd, it was an accident. Seems we've forgotten this his kid posed for pictures appearing armed and dangerous on my space. If the family really cared for the child so much they would have intervened before he got in to this kind of trouble. Why are the families winning law suits now?

  • Adelinthe Oct 31, 2008

    So you think someone who steals two Playstations should face a firing squad?

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 31, 2008

    The sentences for assault and robbery are rarely death. That's why this boy dying this way was wrong.

    Plus he was going to answer the front door; not hiding from them in a closet.

    And they also shot his dog.

    Talk about Keystone Cops.

    Praying for this family who has lost so very much.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • littlegramma Oct 31, 2008

    Its been 2 years, why now do they suddenly need to sue? ANd why the University? They must have just found a shyster to represent them, hope it gets thrown out!

  • Citizen7265 Oct 31, 2008

    Posted on Wral Dec 3 and 4, 2006: "Court records show that Strickland had been charged in September with felony assault."
    This is part of the archive of the Peyton Strickland story.

    Read all the links, the statements, and it is obvious there was reason to suspect a heavily armored home.

  • Citizen7265 Oct 31, 2008

    Seems to me he was already in a bit of trouble for something that had happened earlier according to the original news reports. My parents would have brought my "behind" home to work and go to school locally with no other privileges until all was settled. In the words of the Harnett County mom, it's called "tough love." These parents should have put as much time into straightening out the problem then as they are putting into suing now. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result of HIS own bad choices. What a shame and a waste of a young life.

  • jsharpe45 Oct 31, 2008

    This is just plain BS and why our justice system is a joke. These are some greedy parents. Yes, the kid did not deserve to be killed, but he is the one that committed the crime, he is the one that posted internet pictures with guns. It was a New Hanover County Sheriff that shot him, not a UNCW cop, so how is UNCW at fault. I guess police shouldn't respond to criminals, because they will liable. Can we as taxpayers, sue the parents for raising a kid that broke the law?

  • nccrew Oct 31, 2008

    a civil lawsuit…All because you tried to do the right thing! With that in mind why would anyone want to be a police officer? Thanks to those who are – I understand you’re forced to make decisions in the heat of battle, while information is limited, with consequences that can be life threatening. Thanks to all those who wear the badge!