Settlement reached in Carolina Forest High School shooting civil case

Trevor Varinecz

The parents of a Carolina Forest High School teen who was killed in 2009 by an Horry County police officer have reached a settlement that includes a significant cash payment.

Georgetown lawyer Ed Bell represents the parents of Trevor Varinecz, the student who died in the incident. He says he can't disclose the amount of the settlement because there is some remaining paperwork that needs to be filed.

"We should know in a week or two," Bell said.

Police and school officials have agreed to the settlement but are not admitting any wrongdoing.

"There's been an apology made without an official apology," Bell explained.

The Horry County Police Department, the S.C. Department of Education and the Horry County School District will split a cash payment to the Varinecz family. That money will come from the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund, a state agency that provides insurance to governmental entities.

Police say in October 2009, 16-year-old Trevor Varinecz attacked officer Marcus Rhodes in his office and stabbed him 7 times with a World War Two Bayonette he brought to school. Rhodes shot Varinecz five times, killing him.

Bell says there was much more to this case.

"There was so little damage to Mr. Rhodes back there was no DNA found on the bayonette," he said.

The lawsuit filed by Bell blamed a system that failed Varinecz -who had Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism.

It says the school district reduced the amount of supervised time their son had with a shadow...from 900 minutes a week to 45. The shadow was an adult who helped Varinecz through his school day.

The suit also said officer Rhodes wasn't properly trained.

"Training, training, training would have prevented this. Mr. Rhodes had never been trained to deal with special needs children," Bell said.

As part of the resolution, Rhodes was dismissed from the suit. In addition to a payout, Bell says school resource officers now carry pepper spray and tazers - as alternative weapons.

"The Varinecz family would have more closure if they knew that another child would not have this happen again," Bell stated.