A tentative settlement has been announced in a lawsuit by the victims of the 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The proposed settlement, of $144.5 million, would come from the federal government and go to the survivors of the attack by Devin Kelley, a former Air Force member.
A judge ruled the government was partly liable for the massacre because had authorities properly reported Kelley’s 2012 arrest and court-martial for domestic violence, he would not have been able to acquire the weapons he used to massacre 26.
The government said he would have found another way to get a gun, court records reveal.
Two years ago, a judge ruled against the government on the liability issue and ordered payment of $230 million to 80 survivors and relatives of victims.
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The feds appealed, and the result is the tentative settlement.
A report by NBC explained the proposal still requires the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“If he signs off, it would end a yearslong legal battle over a federal judge’s ruling that the U.S. government bears some responsibility for the attack because it failed to submit the shooter’s criminal history into a database that would have prevented him from purchasing firearms,” the report said.
“These families fought for justice, endured and won two trials against the federal government and made this country safer as a result. But the settlement is not final,” Jamal Alsaffar, a lawyer for the victims, explained in the report. “Attorney General Garland’s office still must approve it, and we urge his Justice Department to act quickly to bring some closure to these families. It’s the least they deserve.”
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