In SummaryThe families of the surviving victims of the Parkland school shooting have finally reached an agreement with the Department of Justice over their lack of action leading up to the massacre.
The Justice Department will disburse approximately $130 million to 40 survivors and families of victims of Nikolas Cruz’s 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, per The New York Times.
In 2018, Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg were joined by other parents in a lawsuit against the DOJ, stating the FBI was alerted twice about Cruz’s actions leading up to the shooting—but did nothing to prevent him from killing their loved ones.
ABC News reported that the families’ 2018 complaint said, “He wanted to kill people, and he had the means to do so—he had spent the last several months collecting rifles and ammunition. Forty days later, Mr. Cruz did just what tipster warned the FBI he would do.”
On Valentine’s Day that year, Cruz entered his former high school in Parkland and opened fire, murdering 14 students and three faculty members in what is considered one of the worst school shootings in American history, BNC previously reported.
He pleaded guilty in October 2021 to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder and is now waiting to find out whether he will receive a death sentence or life in prison.
The victims’ families secured a $25 million settlement with the Broward County School District just a day before Cruz’s guilty plea.
“The word ‘closure’ is not a word I like to use in these instances, because there’s no such thing as closure for these families who have suffered the way they did,” Kristina Infante, lead counsel for the 40 Parkland families suing the DOJ, told The Washington Post. “It’s something different than that … it’s turning the page.”
The Parkland shooting sparked nationwide rallies against gun violence that called for tougher gun control laws, efforts that have yet to yield significant results but are still ongoing.
The Biden administration issued a statement in February calling on Congress to enact common-sense gun law reforms, such as requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and ending impunity for gun manufacturers who “knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”