Sutherland Springs shooting victims offered $144 million settlement, DOJ announces

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Sutherland Springs residents pray in front of some of the crosses placed in a field to honor those who were killed in Sunday’s mass shooting at the town’s First Baptist Church. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News) Louis DeLuca

Sutherland Springs shooting victims offered $144 million settlement, DOJ announces

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The Justice Department announced Wednesday it made a “tentative” agreement for a $144 settlement stemming from civil cases over a November 2017 mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 people dead.

The settlement is said to resolve claims from more than 75 plaintiffs who claimed the Air Force neglected to transmit to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System information about the gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, which would have barred him from purchasing firearms from federally licensed gun dealers.

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Kelley, who opened fire on more than two dozen people during a Sunday service, previously served in the Air Force.

“No words or amount of money can diminish the immense tragedy of the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. “Today’s announcement brings the litigation to a close, ending a painful chapter for the victims of this unthinkable crime.”

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The agreement must be approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office, according to counsel for the victims. The agreement won’t be finalized until the plaintiffs secure approval from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, according to the DOJ.

In July 2021, a judge found the government partly liable for the shooting for failing to provide records that could have kept Kelley from acquiring the firearm he used for the shooting.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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