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$175k settlement reached after resource officer fatally shot student

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Trevor Varinecz (Source: Carolina Forest High School) Trevor Varinecz (Source: Carolina Forest High School)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit brought against Horry County Schools and Horry County Police by the family of Trevor Varinecz.

Trevor Varinecz died in October of 2009 after then Carolina Forest High School School Resource Officer Marcus Rhodes shot him.

Police investigations cleared Rhodes, and no charges have been filed against him.

However, Varinecz's parents decided to sue Rhodes, the high school, Horry County Schools and the Horry County Police Department claiming Rhodes did not have the proper training to prevent the death of their son.

In November, Officer Rhodes asked for a summary judgment saying he was acting in self-defense.

The court document just filed on Thursday, Nov. 15 has details of what happened that day that have not been released until now.

Rhodes says Varinecz came into his office with a bayonet and stabbed him in the back seven times.

Rhodes claims Varinecz would not drop his knife, and Rhodes was scared he was losing control of the situation, adding that he believed Varinecz would grab his gun.

That's when Rhodes fired 10 shots at Varinecz, killing him. As he was dying Varinecz said, "Thank you, sir, Thank you."

Investigators found a note in Varinecz's pocket that directed them to a suicide note on his personal computer.

The wrongful death lawsuit was settled on Dec. 28. The Carolina Forest Chronicle reports the Varinecz family will receive a settlement of $175,000.

That settlement is divided in to two equal payment of $87,500, one for the wrongful death cause of action and the other for "conscious pain and suffering," according to the settlement.

Officer Rhodes and a former counselor for Carolina Forest High School were dismissed from the lawsuit prior to this settlement, leaving the payment to be divided by the SC Department of Education, Horry County Schools, Horry County Police and Carolina Forest High School.

All four defendants are insured by SC Insurance Reserve Fund.

The terms of the settlement state the Varinecz family cannot bring any further legal action against these defendants.

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