FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The families of some of the victims of the mass shooting last year in Parkland, Fla., filed 22 lawsuits on Wednesday accusing the local school district and sheriff’s office of negligence and seeking potentially millions of dollars in damages as compensation.
The lawsuits claim that the Broward County Public Schools failed to keep students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School safe in spite of warning signs that the shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, a former student, had threatened violence against the school community. Mr. Cruz, now 20 and corresponding with pen pals while in jail, faces the possibility of the death penalty in the attack, in which 17 people were killed and 17 others wounded on Feb. 14, 2018.
“This is a life sentence for me,” Mitchell Dworet, who lost his 17-year-old son, Nicholas, said at an emotional news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that was called to announce the lawsuits. Mr. Dworet’s younger son, Alexander, was injured in the shooting.
Mr. Dworet’s lawyer, Michael Goldfarb, said at least part of any damages eventually received by the Dworet family would go toward a charitable foundation it created in Nicholas’s name.
Many frustrated Parkland residents have accused local government of failures before and during the deadly shooting, and those filing the new lawsuits said they hoped the litigation would help hold officials to account. Over the past 14 months, as Parkland students began a national youth movement against gun violence, some of the victims’ families focused on the school district and the sheriff’s office. They led a successful push to oust the sheriff, Scott Israel, and an unsuccessful attempt to have the schools superintendent, Robert W. Runcie, fired.
“To our family, and our son, this lawsuit will bring some accountability,” said Lisa Olson, whose son, William, was shot in both arms. Speaking through tears, she called every day since the shooting “a struggle.”
“My son didn’t go to school today,” she said. “He couldn’t. And we have many days like that now.”
Lawsuits have become a sad routine following the country’s deadly mass shootings, with victims’ families pursuing a variety of strategies to try to receive compensation, force the adoption of safety measures and hold private and public entities responsible. That includes lawsuits against gun manufacturers, which have been seen as uphill court battles.
Recently, families from the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., employed a legal approach previously used against the cigarette industry to pierce the shield that has protected the gun industry in the past, and going after how gun manufacturers marketed an assault rifle.
The F.B.I. identified 27 active-shooter incidents in the United States last year, according to a report the bureau published on Wednesday. The episodes, which spanned 16 states, killed 85 people. None was deadlier than the Parkland shooting.
The lawsuits filed on Wednesday on behalf of 12 of those killed in the shooting and 10 others who were injured claim that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office failed to try to stop the gunman during the rampage. The sheriff’s office declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
Scot Peterson, a sheriff’s deputy at the time and the only armed police officer at the school on the day of the shooting, remained outside the building as the attack took place. Mr. Peterson, who retired in the days after the massacre and has maintained that he was unsure of the gunman’s location, is named as a respondent in the lawsuits along with the sheriff’s office, the school district and an unarmed campus security monitor, Andrew Medina.
Mr. Medina saw Mr. Cruz get out of an Uber ride with a large bag and walk into the school, but did not confront him or call for a lockdown, an investigation showed. He lost his job last summer.
Henderson Behavioral Health, a local clinic that treated Mr. Cruz, is also named in the lawsuits.
Mr. Cruz confessed to the police, and his public defenders said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. But prosecutors rejected that deal, so Mr. Cruz pleaded not guilty and now awaits trial on charges of murder and attempted murder. No trial date has been set.
Records released this week by the Broward County state attorney’s office showed that while in jail, Mr. Cruz has been corresponding with pen pals — a woman in Britain and her brother — telling her that he envisions a life after prison in which he would get married, have children and name the boys Kalashnikov, Makarov and Remington, after the gun manufacturers. At the same time, Mr. Cruz acknowledged that he could die by lethal injection.
“Its kind of what I want but I’m unsure of myself so I’m just letting people save me from myself, saving me from something that I can never return from,” he wrote on Oct. 13 in a handwritten letter to the woman, identified as Miley, who created a Facebook group for supporters of Mr. Cruz.
“Maybe I should get the death penalty,” he wrote in another letter. “I just want love.”
The letters, dating from October and November, include stick figures holding hands and smiley faces with hearts. Mr. Cruz has also written to Miley’s brother, identified as Liam.
One issue in the Florida lawsuits is how local governments, their former employees and the clinic may be liable for compensating the shooting victims. A sovereign immunity law protects any single victim from collecting more than 0,000 in damages from the government without approval from the State Legislature. Those claims bills can take years to pass.
In an effort to avoid such a lengthy process for the Parkland families, State Senator Lauren Book, a Democrat, filed legislation this year establishing a rare compensation fund that would set aside 0 million in public funds for the 34 victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. But the bill, which has yet to get a hearing, appears unlikely to be approved before the annual session is scheduled to end on May 3.
“This is a huge, huge, huge undertaking in the amount of time that we had to work on this,” Ms. Book said. “It is not an easy lift.”
Lawyers for the families said on Wednesday that they suspected that the school district had hired a lobbying firm, GrayRobinson, to lobby against the compensation fund. But both Ms. Book and the district said the accusation was not true; the district said it retained the firm for exactly the opposite purpose: to lobby for the fund’s creation.
“At no time has the District or GrayRobinson lobbied against the compensation fund,” Kathy Koch, a spokeswoman for the district, said in a statement.
The state continues to investigate the shooting. At the same time that the families announced their lawsuits on Wednesday, a commission that has already identified a range of failures on the part of local officials met to review additional issues, including whether public schools in general underreport criminal and safety incidents, and the manner in which victims’ families in Parkland were told by the authorities that their loved ones had died.B:
【翌】【日】 【悄】【悄】【潜】【入】【房】【内】【的】【光】【线】，【变】【得】【极】【其】【的】【柔】【和】、【温】【暖】。 【缓】【缓】【蠕】【动】【着】【身】【子】【的】【她】，【一】【个】【翻】【身】，【合】【上】【的】【双】【目】【缓】【慢】【地】【睁】【开】。 【茫】【然】【的】【双】【目】【看】【向】【这】【偌】【大】【的】【书】【房】，【而】【他】【依】【然】【还】【在】【坐】【于】【那】【儿】。 【赫】【连】【烨】【见】【她】【醒】【来】，【便】【是】【特】【意】【走】【到】【她】【的】【身】【前】，【伸】【手】【示】【意】【她】【下】【床】。 “【赶】【紧】【下】【床】【洗】【漱】【一】【番】，【本】【王】【特】【意】【命】【人】【将】【早】【膳】【送】【入】【书】【房】。” 【极】【其】【不】【愿】【领】
“【没】【想】【到】【会】【在】【这】【碰】【见】【你】，【真】【是】【意】【外】【之】【喜】，【我】【是】【锡】【德】．【安】【德】【烈】。” 【他】【没】【有】【撒】【谎】，【教】【会】【的】【确】【不】【知】【道】【刘】【潇】【在】【这】【里】，【虽】【然】【刘】【潇】【没】【有】【隐】【瞒】【自】【己】【的】【行】【踪】，【但】【摩】【羯】【座】【一】【直】【在】【替】【他】【隐】【瞒】，【而】【教】【会】【这】【段】【时】【间】【又】【处】【于】【动】【荡】【时】【期】，【以】【至】【于】【连】【刘】【潇】【入】【境】【都】【不】【知】【道】。 【刘】【潇】【伸】【手】【与】【他】【握】【了】【握】：“【你】【好】，【安】【德】【烈】【大】【主】【教】，【有】【事】【吗】？” “【当】【然】，彩民心水论坛67966“【我】【大】【概】【是】【个】【透】【明】【的】【吧】？” 【古】【乐】【看】【着】【大】【哥】，【二】【哥】，【娘】【亲】【和】【父】【亲】【都】【开】【始】【递】【给】【小】【悦】【儿】【礼】【物】【开】【始】【忍】【不】【住】【吐】【槽】【道】， 【虽】【然】【他】【不】【强】【求】【礼】【物】【有】【多】【贵】【吧】！【但】【好】【歹】【他】【也】【是】【即】【将】【远】【行】【的】【人】，【意】【思】【意】【思】【总】【是】【要】【有】【的】【吧】？ “【不】【是】，【你】【怎】【么】【会】【是】【透】【明】【的】？” 【古】【歌】【缓】【步】【走】【了】【过】【来】，【拍】【了】【拍】【古】【乐】【的】【肩】【膀】，【语】【重】【心】【长】【的】【说】【道】。 【这】【一】【瞬】【间】
【黑】【衣】【人】【一】【步】【一】【步】【靠】【近】【灵】【雨】，【只】【是】，【他】【往】【前】【一】【步】，【灵】【雨】【便】【后】【退】【一】【步】，【在】【走】【了】【十】【几】【步】【后】，【他】【停】【了】【下】【来】，【灵】【雨】【也】【停】【止】【了】【后】【退】。 “【灵】【雨】，【原】【来】【你】【还】【记】【得】【沐】【离】。”【黑】【衣】【人】【笑】【道】。 【灵】【雨】【感】【觉】【得】【到】，【这】【句】【话】，【黑】【衣】【人】【说】【得】【很】【轻】【松】，【同】【时】，【她】【也】【能】【感】【觉】【到】，【那】【说】【话】【的】【瞬】【间】【脸】【上】【洋】【溢】【着】【的】【是】【轻】【松】【微】【笑】，【那】【是】【一】【种】【释】【然】【的】【欣】【慰】【的】【甚】【至】【是】