The federal government will pay a $127.5 million settlement over the Parkland, Fla. school massacre — after it admitted the FBI didn’t follow up on two tips that could have prevented the massacre.
The legal deal announced Wednesday settles 40 lawsuits tied to the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which remains the largest high school shooting in US history.
The Department of Justice did not admit fault in the shootings, and the settlement “resolved all the cases” filed against the government by family members of the 16 shooting victims and all the survivors of the attack, a news release said.
Nikolas Cruz, 23, had pleaded guilty to killing 17 students and staff members at the school, and trying to kill 17 others when he opened fired on his former classmates and teachers with a semi-automatic weapon on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The FBI mishandled two tips about the gunman in the months before the shooting, officials conceded to Congress a month after the shooting.
In one instance, a YouTuber had told the bureau that Cruz had posted “Im going to be a professional school shooter” on the comment section of one of his videos.
Even though the username of the poster was “Nikolas Cruz,” agents at the time said they could not determine his true identity, officials said.
In the other instance, a person who said they were friends of the Cruz family told the FBI’s West Virginia field office that Nikolas admired ISIS and was collecting assault weapons. The tipster was concerned that Cruz might shoot up a school, and told the feds he had threatened to kill his mom and was mutilating small animals.
That tip was never followed up on nor forwarded to local authorities, the feds admitted.
“The FBI could have and should have done more to investigate the information it was provided prior to the shooting,” Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2018.
“While we will never know if any such investigative activity would have prevented this tragedy, we clearly should have done more.”
Survivors of the shooting successfully lobbied statehouses across the country to pass a slew of gun control measures in the aftermath of the shooting.