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Justice Department settles Parkland school shooting civil cases for $127.5 million

School Shooting Florida
Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 19:01:26-04

The Department of Justice has settled over 40 civil cases that arose following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. All cases have been resolved for a total of $127.5 million, according to a statement released Wednesday.

"The settlement does not amount to an admission of fault by the United States," the DOJ said in the statement.

The payments mark the end of multiple civil cases filed against the U.S. government for damages following the Parkland shooting.

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into the Florida school with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and shot several victims as his classmates ran and hid. In the seven minutes it took him to be stopped, Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members. According to school administrators, Cruz was expelled from the school a year earlier for documented disturbing and violent behavior.

The families of 16 victims, as well as several survivors, sued the government after learning that the FBI received a tip about Cruz five weeks before the shooting took place. An unnamed caller told the tip line that Cruz had purchased guns and was going to "slip into a school and start shooting the place up," but the information was never shared with local officials.

"I know he's going to explode," the caller told the FBI.

According to settlement paperwork, the plaintiffs have said they will dismiss their case after "all settlement funds have been received," and have requested a 45-day extension to allow for the Treasury Department to issue payments. The Treasury has already paid out one case, and the rest of the funds remain in progress, according to a joint status statement.

In December, the Broward County, Florida, school district announced it would pay more than $26 million to the families of the 17 people killed and some of those injured in the shooting.

In October 2021, Cruz pleaded guilty to all 17 counts of first-degree murder and now faces a life in prison or the death penalty. His sentencing is currently scheduled for April 4, CBS Miami reports.