NEWARK - (AP) - A city councilman says he warned Newark's school district about locking a schoolyard where three college-bound friends were murdered in 2007.

Ronald Rice Jr. testified Thursday in the lawsuit brought by the families of the victims.

Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel were killed on Aug. 4, 2007. They were enrolled or planning to enroll at Delaware State University.

Rice reportedly testified that less than two weeks before the killings, he sent a letter to the school district saying the gates entering the schoolyard should be locked because of complaints about loud music and gunshots.

Six men and boys charged in the murders pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial. All were members of or connected to the MS-13 street gang.