Almost four years after a former expelled student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 and wounded 17 others, the Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit with victims’ families, who allege that the FBI failed to acts on tips regarding the shooter. While an exact amount was not included in the joint court filing on Monday, NPR and Reuters report that the settlement amounts to around $130 million and resolves all litigation attempting to hold the FBI accountable for its alleged failure to investigate the shooter.
Before then-19-year-old Nikolas Cruz attacked the school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day in 2018, the FBI received several notices that the former Stoneman Douglas student was stockpiling weapons for use in a mass shooting, per the lawsuit. One tip alleged that Cruz was “going to slip into a school and start shooting the place up.” Despite the warnings, the FBI did not act to stop the attack. In the days following the deadly shooting, students on campus that day launched the group March for Our Lives to stop mass shootings in schools.
The nine-figure settlement comes a month after the DOJ agreed to pay families of the nine victims killed in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. Survivors and family members of those killed similarly accused the FBI of negligence in their lawsuit, claiming that the bureau should have stopped Dylann Roof from purchasing the gun he used; at the time, the white supremacist was barred from owning a firearm by federal law.
Last month, Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts or murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Now 23, he is still facing a potential death sentence, with jury selection for the sentencing phase of his trial beginning in January.