U.S. Set to Agree to $130 Mil Settlement With Families of Victims in Parkland Shooting

U.S. Set to Agree to $130 Mil Settlement With Families of Victims in Parkland Shooting Photo Source: Saul Martinez/New York Times

The United States government has neared a settlement with the families of victims and survivors of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

On Valentine’s day in 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into his Parkland, Florida, high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and went on a shooting rampage that left 17 dead and 17 others injured.

Following the massacre, families of victims and survivors filed a lawsuit that claimed that the FBI did not take the necessary steps to stop the shooting. Two weeks before the shooting, a tipster who was “close” to Cruz shared with the FBI tip line concern about Cruz and the possibility that he might commit a violent act against his school. The tipster shared a concern about guns that the teen had access to as well as disturbing social media posts. The tipster also shared details about Cruz’s “erratic behavior” and “desire to kill people.”

The FBI later admitted that they did not follow the proper protocols in responding to the tip. The bureau released a statement that explained the tip was not "assessed as a potential threat to life" when it should have been. The FBI also acknowledged that they should have forwarded the tip to the FBI’s Miami field office.

Details about the settlement have yet to be confirmed, but sources close to the case share that the government will likely pay up to $130 million in total.

Kristina Infante, the lead attorney representing the families in the suit, shares, “It has been an honor to represent the Parkland families who, through their immeasurable grief, have devoted themselves to making the world a safer place.” Infante adds, “Although no resolution could ever restore what the Parkland families lost, this settlement marks an important step toward justice.”

The law firm representing the families, Podhurst Orseck, adds, “Although the financial details of the agreement are presently confidential, it is a historic settlement and the culmination of the Parkland families’ long and arduous efforts toward truth and accountability.”

Last month, Cruz pleaded guilty to charges of 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. During his hearing, Cruz shared a remorseful statement in front of the courtroom. “I am very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day," he expressed. “I have to live with this every day, and it brings me nightmares that I can’t live with myself sometimes but I try to push through."

The settlement will hold the FBI accountable for not taking the necessary steps to stop the shooting. Once the settlement is finalized, the funds will be shared between the 40 plaintiffs who filed the 2018 lawsuit against the FBI.

This latest settlement comes on the heels of a related settlement. Last month, the Broward County school district ended a lawsuit with families of victims and survivors of the shooting after settling for $25 million.

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, when she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.