UNC-Wilmington settles in death of Durham student
Posted March 22, 2013
WILMINGTON, N.C. — The University of North Carolina-Wilmington has settled with the family of a college student killed in 2006 by a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy.
Peyton Strickland, 18, of Durham, was killed on Dec. 1, 2006, as deputies and UNC-W police raided a rental house in Wilmington in search of two stolen PlayStation 3 video systems.
Strickland, who was a Cape Fear Community College student, was shot in the head and in the chest as he went to open the front door, authorities said.
UNC-W police had asked for support from New Hanover County deputies because they feared the residents of the house were armed and dangerous. Strickland was unarmed when he was shot.
Under the settlement, the university acknowledges Strickland had good character and no criminal record. The state will pay his estate $150,000 and use $100,000 to accredit UNC-W police officers.
"By all accounts, Peyton was a local college student in good standing, a friend to many and a talented young industrial artist," UNC-W said in a statement Thursday. "His death is a loss to all of us, especially those who knew and appreciated Peyton’s special qualities.
"This incident serves to remind our community of the imperatives associated with the prudent pursuit of law enforcement, and the continued evolution of safety policies," the statement said. "Peyton’s death also serves as motivation to ensure that law enforcement personnel are ably trained and as prepared as possible to prevent such tragedies in the future."
Strickland's estate is dropping all other claims against the state, the university, its police department and several people.
The sheriff's office settled with Strickland's family in 2008 for $2.5 million.
Deputy Christopher Long told investigators he fired on Strickland after he mistook the sound of a battering ram against the front door for gunshots. Long was fired shortly after the shooting, but two grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges.