2 MSU Shooting Survivors File Notices of Intent to Sue School

One of the MSU students was shot in the head while the other was shot in the chest.

2 MSU Shooting Survivors File Notices of Intent to Sue School

Photo: ehrlif, Adobe Stock

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Two survivors of the February shooting at Michigan State University (MSU) have notified the school that they intend to sue for failing to protect them.

MSU students Troy Forbush and Nate Statly, both of whom suffered gunshot wounds, filed the notices Monday in the Michigan Court of Claims, reports The Detroit News. Notices of intent to sue are required steps for filing lawsuits against government entities. The filings are brief summaries of the legal positions that attorneys plan to address more thoroughly in their lawsuits.  

According to the court filings, the lawsuits will claim the university lacked door locks across campus, noting specific rooms or buildings could not be remotely locked. The attorneys claim the school failed to protect students by allowing public access to campus buildings at night, by not implementing mass shooting deterrent technology like other major universities, and by not conducting active shooter training and drills, according to Lansing State Journal. The filings also allege that prior to the shooting, MSU had received complaints about the lack of restrictions for accessing campus buildings.

Forbush and Statly were attending the same lecture in Berkey Hall when the gunman entered and opened fire, killing three and critically wounding five. Statly was shot in the head and is unable to walk, talk, or use the left side of his body, according to the filing. He required emergency brain surgery and months in different hospitals and rehab facilities. Statly has not yet been discharged. Forbush was shot in the chest. The bullet struck his lung and came within an inch of his heart, says his filing.

Two weeks after the shooting, MSU announced it would make several security improvements on campus, including the installation of additional security cameras and at least 1,600 new locks on campus doors that can be secured by anyone inside a room and require a key to open from the outside.

Other security upgrades include setting up a Strategic Operations Center that will streamline and centralize the campus’ access control and video surveillance systems into one monitoring location. Police will staff the center around the clock. The new system will include software that can alert staffers to an open door that should be closed and will be capable of using artificial intelligence, including facial recognition and license plate reading.

MSU will also soon send push emergency alerts via local county emergency management to mobile phones on campus and in the area adjacent. Additionally, speakers are being installed for mass notification and active intruder training will be introduced.

The school is no stranger to scrutiny. In 2018, MSU agreed to pay $425 million to 333 women and girls who allege they were sexually assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar. It also agreed to set aside $75 million in case additional lawsuits were filed against the school. An investigation by Michigan lawmakers found the school failed to protect its students in an attempt to save its own reputation.

Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise of treatment and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. He was already sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges.

More recently, in 2021, 18-year-old Brendan Santo was visiting friends at MSU when he went missing. Several weeks later, MSU officials announced they would install hundreds of new security cameras after it was determined the camera at the entrance of the building he was last seen was not working. It was later discovered that approximately 320 cameras had been taken offline before Santo went missing. His body was recovered nearly three months later in the Red Cedar River.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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