Parents of teens killed in shooting file wrongful death lawsuit against Granite School District
Jan 12, 2024, 11:09 AM | Updated: 5:31 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Two sets of parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Granite School District after their sons were shot and killed off campus near Hunter High School in 2022.
On Jan. 14, 2022, 15-year-old Paul Tahi and 14-year-old Tivani Lopati were shot and killed in a fight on 4100 South near Mountain View Corridor, across the street from the school during lunch hour. A third student, Ephraim Asiata, was critically injured in the shooting.
UPDATE on condition of Ephraim Asiata and a message from his family. pic.twitter.com/CdBg8n9D7k
— Granite School Dist. (@GraniteSchools) January 14, 2022
The shooter, who was 14 years old at the time of the shooting, was ultimately sentenced to serve in juvenile detention until he’s 21. His case was not and will not be transferred to adult court.
The lawsuit claims that Granite School District was aware of a clash between two groups of Hunter High students, “one composed of mostly Polynesian students, and one composed of mostly Hispanic students” that had been escalating throughout the school year.
In the weeks leading up to the shooting, the lawsuit states that parents of Hunter High students had notified the Hunter High School administration and the Granite School District police about the rising violence between the two groups on multiple occasions.
The lawsuit also claims that Granite School District had knowledge of “racially-charged harassment and discrimination toward Polynesian students at Hunter High School that was severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.”
The lawsuit states that Paul and Tivani’s deaths occurred as a result of the “racially-based hostile environment” within Hunter High School and Granite School District’s failure to intervene when made aware of “escalating and imminent violence.”
“Paul Tahi’s and Tivani Lopati’s heirs are entitled to general and special damages for, among other things, costs associated with Paul’s and Tivani’s death, the value of services Paul and Tivani would have provided, loss of Paul’s and Tivani’s society, comfort, association, love, counsel, care, consortium and protection, loss of the reasonable expectation to associate with Paul and Tivani for the rest of their natural life and for any and all other damages as may be just under the circumstances,” the lawsuit states.
Granite School District released the following statement, “The district was not made aware of this filing and has not had opportunity to review it. Regardless, we are unable to comment on pending litigation.”