Jury finds Long Beach school had no liability in Ross slaying
A jury on Tuesday found that the Long Beach Unified School District wasn't liable in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old high school student as she left a 2009 homecoming football game.
The jury awarded no damages in the lawsuit filed against the district in the death of Melody Ross, a Wilson Classical High School student. She was a bystander who was gunned down when two teenagers opened fire on a group of students after the Oct. 30, 2009, game against Polytechnic High School. Two others were injured.
"The jury agreed that our school district was in no way responsible for this senseless act of violence that occurred off campus," Long Beach Supt. Christopher J. Steinhauser said in a statement."We're relieved that the real perpetrator of this crime, the gunman, will be held accountable rather than an outstanding school whose staff provides a safe environment."
He added: "Our hearts go out to everyone who knew and loved Melody, but we applaud the jury for considering all the evidence and applying the law correctly."
Last September, Tom Love Vinson, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of first-degree murder, in addition to two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter. In December, he received a 155-year prison sentence for the slaying.
A second teenager, Daivion Davis, was sentenced to eight years and four months of juvenile custody. He pleaded no contest to charges of manslaughter and attempted murder.
Both teenagers, who were gang members, were on probation at the time of the shooting.
Photo: In October 2009, friends set up a memorial after Melody Ross was shot and killed after a high school football game. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times