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Parkland Families Settle Suit Over FBI Inaction

Case concerned FBI's inaction after receiving a tip about the killer's plans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2021 6:25 PM CST
Updated Nov 23, 2021 12:00 AM CST
Government Settles Suit With Parkland Families
Officers block the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 15, 2018, a day after a mass shooting.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(Newser) Update: This story has been updated with new information from the Wall Street Journal.
The families of most of those killed and wounded in the 2018 Florida high school massacre announced Monday they have settled their lawsuit against the federal government over the FBI's failure to stop the gunman even though it had received information he intended to attack. Attorneys for 16 of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland said they have reached a confidential settlement with the government over the FBI's failure to investigate a tip it received about a month before the massacre, the AP reports. The 17th family chose not to sue. A source tells the Wall Street Journal the US government will pay the families $127.5 million.

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"Although no resolution could ever restore what the Parkland families lost, this settlement marks an important step toward justice," the families' lead attorney, Kristina Infante, said in a statement. Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the shooting, commended the FBI for accepting responsibility for its inaction, comparing it to the Broward County school district and sheriff's office, the school security staff, and the psychologists who treated the shooter. He believes they all failed to stop the shooter and have ducked responsibility. "The FBI has made changes to make sure this never happens again," Pollack said. The government's lead attorney did not immediately comment.

About five weeks before the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting, an FBI tip line received a call saying a former Stoneman Douglas student, Nikolas Cruz, had bought guns and planned to "slip into a school and start shooting the place up." The caller told the FBI, "I know he's going to explode." But that information was never forwarded to the FBI's South Florida office, and Cruz was never contacted. He had been expelled from the school a year earlier and had a long history of emotional and behavioral problems. Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty last month to 17 counts of first-degree murder. He will receive either a death sentence or life in prison after a penalty trial that is scheduled to start in January.

(Read more Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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