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Texas church shooting victims to settle case against government for $144.5M

The victims of the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas have reported that they have reached a “tentative agreement” to settle a case that was filed against the government for $144.5 million. If the agreement receives approval from Attorney General Merrick Garland, then it would conclude a legal battle between the victims and the federal government, which they held responsible for the attack. Twenty-six people were killed at Sutherland Springs’ First Baptist Church by a shooter in 2017. In 2021, the government was held partly responsible for the attack by a district court as the criminal history of the shooter, Devin Kelley, had not been added to the national database which might have hampered his ability to buy a gun.

Premier Christian News reports:

Victims of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting say they’ve reached a “tentative agreement” with the department of justice (DOJ) to settle a case against the government for $144.5 million (£115.6M).

Following approval by Attorney General Merrick Garland, the agreement would end a legal battle with the federal government over its responsibility for the attack.

In 2017, a gunman killed 26 people including eight children at the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Police recovered a rifle and two handguns, all three weapons were purchased by the shooter.

In July 2021, a district court ruled that the government was partly responsible for the massacre after shooter Devin Kelley’s criminal history was not submitted into the national database that would have prevented him from buying a gun.

A federal judge ruled in February 2022 that the government should pay $230 million to victims in damages. The DOJ later appealed this decision.

Lead trial attorney for the victims, Jamal Alsaffar told NBC News the country “owed a debt of gratitude” to the Sutherland Springs families for pursuing their lawsuit, despite the trauma it unearthed for them.

“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,” Alsaffar said.

Read the full article here.

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