Sutherland Springs Victims Reach $144.5M Settlement

Sutherland Springs
Department of Justice seal | Image by lev radin

The Department of Justice (DOJ) tentatively has agreed to a $144.5 million settlement with victims of the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting.

The DOJ and an attorney for the victims announced the deal Wednesday morning

A court ruled in 2021 that the U.S. government was liable in the November 5, 2017, massacre at the rural Texas First Baptist Church in which 26 were killed, and 22 were injured.

The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, was a former Air Force member.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez for the Western District of Texas ruled the Air Force failed to submit Kelley to an FBI criminal background check.

“Had the Government done its job and properly reported Kelley’s information into the background check system — it is more likely than not that Kelley would have been deterred from carrying out the Church shooting,” the judge wrote in his 2021 ruling.

“For these reasons, the Government bears significant responsibility for the Plaintiffs’ harm.”

Sutherland Springs is about 45 miles east of San Antonio.

“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 Wednesday’s statement. “Today’s announcement brings the litigation to a close, ending a painful chapter for the victims of this unthinkable crime.”

The final agreement awaits court approval, the DOJ said.

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