The state argued that law enforcement officials believed the first shootings were targeted, the result of a domestic dispute, and they concluded the larger campus was not at risk, even though the gunman remained on large. The justices concluded that university officials acted properly.
Attorneys for the parents also sought to put on trial Tech President Charles W. Steger. The opinion did not address that point, presumably because the ruling reversed the jury's findings.
The state was the only defendant at trial.
Steger, who has announced his retirement, in a statement extended his gratitude to state attorneys who argued the appeal and "throughout the lengthy fallout from this wrenching tragedy."
The Petersons and the Prydes are the only families of Tech victims who did not join in an $11 million settlement.
Their attorneys have shielded the Prydes and the Petersons from the media but they have said they were intent on holding university officials accountable for their actions on April 16, 2007.
In a statement Thursday, Virginia Tech said the high court ruling "can never reverse the loss of lives nor the pain experienced by so many families and friends of victims of one person."
Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sszkotakap.
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