The Justice Department reached a multi-million dollar settlement with the families of the victims and survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The settlement was reached after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to investigate and act on two pieces of information it received about the shooter that could have prevented the crime from occurring.
Lawyers for 16 of the 17 families killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those who were injured said in a joint filing Monday that they had reached a monetary deal to address the issue.
Lawyers did not disclose the value of the settlement, saying the details were confidential. But a source close to the deal told The Associated Press that the US government will pay families $ 127.5million (£ 95.2million) in total.
“It has been an honor to represent the Parkland families who, through their immeasurable grief, have dedicated themselves to making the world a safer place,” said Kristina Infante, Senior Family Counsel, in a statement.
“While no resolution can ever restore what the Parkland families have lost, this settlement marks an important step towards justice.”
Shooter Nikolas Cruz, 23, opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – from which he was previously expelled – killing 17 people and injuring 17 others on February 14, 2018.
More than a month before the shooting, one of the tips explained how Cruz shared photos on Instagram regarding the storage of weapons and ammunition.
“I know it’s going to explode,” a woman said on the FBI phone line. She had feared that Cruz “was going to sneak into a school and start shooting at the place”.
Another piece of advice the agency received concerned a YouTube comment from a person using the name “nikolas cruz” who said she was going to “be a professional school shooter” in September 2017, months before the shoot.
Two days after the shooting, the FBI admitted to having received information about the shooter but did not follow up.
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow died in the shooting, praised the FBI for accepting responsibility for not investigating the pipe, but added that nothing could replace his daughter. “The FBI has made changes to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Pollack said.
Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina died in the shooting, said no settlement “will replace my bright, bubbly and beautiful daughter.” He said that while other families celebrate Thanksgiving this week, Gina’s chair will remain empty.
Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder last month. He will be on trial early next year where the jury will decide whether he will be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment.
The Independent Gt