Parents of slain Auburn student files claim, seeks $1 million

Parents of slain Auburn student files claim, seeks $1 million

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The family of Lauren Burk appeared in front of the Alabama Board of Adjustment in Montgomery Tuesday after filing a claim against Auburn University.

"We want to make sure the public is aware that Auburn University dropped the ball when they dissipated their on campus security and all we're trying to do is make sure that what happened to Lauren, we don't want that to happen to anyone else," explains Lauren's father, Jim Burk.

Lauren was abducted from a campus parking lot and fatally shot in March of 2008.

Courtney Lockhart was convicted in her murder and sentenced to death.

The family believes Lauren may still be alive if AU had an on campus police department.

"It could have reduced the possibility of Lauren being abducted with a gun put in her back and ultimately murdered," says Burk.

Former Auburn police chief Tommy Dawson testified at the State Capital this morning.

"It is a sad situation and one that affects me deeply and emotionally," says Dawson.

He understands why the Burke family filed the claim, but believes Lockhart is the sole person responsible for Lauren's death.

"I don't think anything could have been done to prevent it. You can't prevent every and all crime, but like I said the person responsible has been convicted and tried and is on death row," explains Dawson.

The university merged with the city police force in the early 2000s.

Dawson told the board it provided the opportunity to hire more officers who were better trained.

The University offered a statement Tuesday, October 7, which reads:

"Lauren's loss was tragic, and our thoughts and prayers remain with those who loved her. Lauren is a member of the Auburn family, and a scholarship in her name honors her and the life she led. We continue working closely with university security and local law enforcement officials on our commitment to a safe campus environment."

"This is the end result of a long journey, to express ourselves as far as making sure Auburn's campus improves their security, maintains that improvement and the parents of any student that goes to any university in the county has the comfort of knowing their daughter or son with come home," explains Burk.

The State Board of Adjustment will consider this claim and use state money to compensate the case if they feel it has merit.

The Burk family is asking for $1 million.

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