On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire in the Parkland, Florida school, murdering 17 people and injuring 17 others.
Since the tragedy, students from the school and families of the victims have banded together to call for stricter gun control. The victims’ families also sued the federal government, saying that the FBI received tips about Cruz’s mental state and his stockpiling of weapons but did nothing to intervene and stop him.
On March 16, 2022, the U.S. government agreed to pay the families that sued a $127.5 million settlement. The settlement was awarded to 40 civil cases from both survivors of the shooting and 16 of the 17 victims’ families. One family opted not to sue.
“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,” their lead attorney, Kristina Infante said to the Associated Press back in November when the attorneys first announced they had reached a settlement. “Although no resolution could ever restore what the Parkland families lost, this settlement marks an important step toward justice.”
About five weeks before the deadly attack, an FBI tip line received a call saying that Cruz had started buying weapons and was planning to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up.”
“I know he’s going to explode,” the caller added of Cruz. The information was never forwarded to the south Florida offices of the FBI, and Cruz went uninvestigated. Last October, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder. His penalty trial is set for April, during which he will receive either a death sentence or life in prison.
The Department of Justice also noted in the settlement “”does not amount to an admission of fault by the United States.”