Family of fatal SSU shooting victim file suit against student union management company

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) –
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The parents of a Savannah State University student killed in a shooting on campus are filing a suit.

They say more should have been done to protect their son, and that more still needs to be done to keep other students safe.

Chris Starks, 22, died after that shooting in August of last year that happened on campus at the Student Union building. It is a crime that has never been solved and it’s not the only violent crime on campus.

In the lawsuit, the parents of Chris Starks say that USG Real Estate Foundation – which manages the student union building and other facilities – knew about hundreds of violent crimes that occurred on its property during a five-year period between 2010 and 2015, but did not take appropriate action to stop it or warn students.

“This lawsuit is a voice, an opportunity, for us to speak on behalf of all students, not only at Savannah State but throughout the state where there is crime going on on their campuses and no one is being held accountable and no one is doing anything to protect these students,” said Attorney Shean Williams.

“There are no means of a deterrent to keep individuals from getting on that campus. And we now know when they do it has led to tragic results for many families,” said Attorney Abda Lee Quillian.

The Tate Law Group is joining with the Cochran Law Firm out of Atlanta in this lawsuit.

I spoke with Chris Starks’ mother following this Wednesday’s news conference.

“It breaks my heart. And to hear that since Chris’ death the crimes are still going on, this has to stop.  This has to stop or there will be another parent sitting where I am sitting,” said Sharron Starks.

The lawsuit claims negligence – alleging that despite numerous violent crimes on campus including shootings, robberies, and rapes – the dangerous environment continued to exist.

“I had no idea because if I had known he wouldn’t have gone,” said Starks.

She says if she had been made better aware of campus crime, she would have kept her son home.

“It breaks my heart. And to hear that since Chris’ death the crimes are still going on, this has to stop. This has to stop or there will be another parent sitting where I am sitting,” said Starks.

While this lawsuit has been filed against the for-profit company that manages that property where Chris Starks was killed, Starks; lawyers say that SSU administrators and the Board of Regents will also be questioned.

A lawsuit has also been filed on behalf of Chris Woods, another student left seriously injured after being shot on campus a year before Chris Starks was killed.

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