US Settles With Texas Church Shooting Victims For $144.5 Million

Survivors and relatives of victims of the 2017 mass shooting at a Texas church that left 26 people dead and for which a judge had ruled the Air Force to be largely liable agreed a $144.5 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Judge Xavier Rodriguez of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio must approve the settlement reached on Wednesday with more than 75 plaintiffs.

The government’s appeal of Rodriguez’s ruling that it must pay almost $230 million in reparations for the murder of former Air Force airman Devin Patrick Kelley on November 5, 2017, at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, would come to an end.

At a Sunday church, 31 miles (50 km) east of San Antonio, Kelley, 26, dressed in all-black and donning a skull mask, opened fire, injuring 22 other people.

After a police chase, he later passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

After pleading in a 2012 court martial to domestic violence for hitting his former wife and newborn stepson, Kelley had used firearms he shouldn’t have been authorized to purchase.

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Rodriguez ruled the Air Force 60% at fault in July 2021 for failing to record Kelley’s plea in a database used for background checks before the purchase of firearms.

Although assigning Kelley 40% of the blame, Rodriguez claimed that even Kelley’s parents were unaware of their son’s propensity for violence.

In February 2022, damages were imposed. The settlement was first reported by The Washington Post.

In 2021, the government settled with the victims of the mass shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and a church in Charleston, South Carolina, for $88 million and $127.5 million, respectively, for alleged mistakes that might have stopped both incidents.

Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement that “no words or amount of money can minimize the terrible sadness of the tragic killing in Sutherland Springs.” “Today’s announcement ends the litigation and closes a difficult chapter for the victims of this unspeakable crime,” according to the statement.

The plaintiffs’ attorney was unable to comment right away.

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