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Parkland shooting victims, gov't agree to settle lawsuit against FBI

Parkland shooting victims, gov't agree to settle lawsuit against FBI
Students lay down notes and flowers at a makeshift memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2019, one year after 17 students and teachers were murdered there. File Photo by Gary Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Families of the victims of the 2018 Parkland, Fla., high school massacre have reached a settlement with the government in their lawsuit filed against the FBI, a court filing showed Monday.

The victims' parents and the federal government have told the U.S. District Court in Miami that they have "reached an agreement to settle all of the claims at issue," according to a joint notice of agreement first obtained by CNN.

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The lawsuit was originally filed three years ago by the parents of Carmen Schentrup and Jaime Guttenberg, who died in the shooting, and by the family of Parkland survivor Anthony Borges. It was later consolidated with other claims to include more than a dozen Parkland families.

Monday's filing indicated the dollar amount of the settlement has not yet been finalized.

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In the suit, they claimed the FBI bore responsibility for the deaths of their children due to its handling of tips it received about the confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz. The suit says a woman warned the FBI that Cruz planned "to slip into a school and start shooting up the place."

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"He wanted to kill people, and he had the means to do so -- he had spent the last several months collecting rifles and ammunition," the lawsuit says. "Forty days later, Mr. Cruz did just what [the] tipster warned the FBI he would do."

A month after the shooting, the FBI told U.S. lawmakers the bureau made errors in responding to tips regarding Cruz.

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"We made mistakes here, no question about that," Acting Deputy Director David Bowditch told the committee. "That said, even had we done everything right I'm not sure we could have stopped this act, but it would have been nice to try. It sure would have been nice for our investigator to sit down in front of Mr. Cruz and actually have that discussion."

The government argued last year that the families could not sue the FBI under Florida law or the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Cruz last month pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting and faces the death penalty in an upcoming sentencing hearing.

RELATED Judge declines to dismiss case against Nikolas Cruz on charges he attacked guard

Students stand up for school safety in national walkout

Local area students participate in the National School Walkout protest for school safety, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The youth-organized protest is to bring attention to school safety, protest gun violence and to honor the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

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