(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

Virginia Tech University couldn't have foreseen the subsequent rampage of a lone gunman after two students were found shot to death in a dorm room, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled, reversing a jury's wrongful death verdict against the state.

The state university and three police departments at first reasonably thought the two students' deaths stemmed from a personal conflict and had no cause to believe they were the first fatalities in a massacre that culminated in the murder of 30 more people in the Norris Hall classroom building, the high court ruled. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho also killed himself.

Based on the limited information available to the state before the shootings in the classroom facility, "it cannot be said that it was known or reasonably foreseeable that students in Norris Hall would fall victim to criminal harm," Justice Cleo Powell wrote. "Thus as a matter of law, the Commonwealth did not have a duty to protect students against third party criminal acts."

The wrongful death suit, claiming that the university had failed to issue proper warnings of a gunman on the loose, was filed by the families of two of Cho's victims, Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde. A jury awarded each family $4 million, which was later reduced to $100,000 a family because of statutory caps.