FORT LODERDALE, Florida (AP) – The families of most of those killed and injured in the 2018 Florida high school massacre announced Monday reached a multimillion dollar deal with the federal government over the FBI’s failure to stop the perpetrator, although it received information which he intended to attack.
Lawyers for 16 of the 17 killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and some of those injured said they had reached a monetary agreement with the government over the FBI’s refusal to investigate a tip about a month before the massacre. The 17th family chose not to sue.
Lawyers said the details of the settlement were confidential, but a person familiar with the deal said the government would pay the families a total of $ 127.5 million. The man asked to remain anonymous because he had no right to discuss the amount.
“I have been honored to represent the Parkland families who, despite their immeasurable grief, are dedicated to making the world a safer place,” their chief attorney, Cristina Infante, said in a statement. “While no resolution can ever restore what the Parkland families have lost, this settlement marks an important step towards justice.”
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the shooting, praised the FBI for taking responsibility for its inaction, comparing it to the Broward County school district and sheriff’s office, school security officers and psychologists who treated the shooter. He believes that they all failed to stop the shooter and evaded responsibility.
“The FBI made changes to make sure it never happens again,” Pollack said.
Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina died, said that no settlement “can replace my bright, cheerful and beautiful daughter.” He said that while other families are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, Gina’s chair will remain empty.
Both Montalto and Pollack stated that the money they received would not replace their daughters.
Paul David Stern, a leading government attorney, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
About five weeks before the shooting, on February 14, 2018, the FBI information desk received a call that former Stoneman Douglas student Nicholas Cruz had bought a gun and was planning to “sneak into school and start shooting the site.”
“I know it’s going to explode,” the caller told the FBI.
But this information was never sent to the FBI office in South Florida, and Cruz was never contacted. He was expelled from school a year earlier and has 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 imprisonment after his trial, due to the court order, which is due to start in January.