Uvalde Families Settle With City, Sue Police and School District

Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas | Image by Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock
Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas | Image by Jinitzail Hernandez/Shutterstock

Nearly two years after the tragic Uvalde school shooting, families of the victims announced a $2 million settlement with the city on Wednesday, but they will also pursue new lawsuits against members of law enforcement and the school district.

The settlement, reached between the families and the city of Uvalde, will see a total of $2 million allocated to the families of 17 children killed in the shooting and two children who survived, according to statements from attorneys representing the families. The funds will be sourced from the city’s insurance coverage, providing some minor financial relief to the affected families, according to CBS News Texas.

Attorney Josh Koskoff, speaking at a press conference, acknowledged that while grounds for a lawsuit against the city existed, the families opted for a settlement to avoid jeopardizing the city’s finances. The decision came from a desire to prioritize healing and community restoration over prolonged legal battles, per CBS.

City officials expressed gratitude to the victims’ families for their willingness to foster healing together as a community.

In a statement, Uvalde city officials said, “We will forever be grateful to the victims’ families for working with us over the past year to cultivate an environment of community-wide healing that honors the lives and memories of those we tragically lost.”

However, the families’ legal action does not end with this initial settlement. On Wednesday, the victims’ representative families filed a $500 million federal lawsuit against an array of law enforcement and school district members. In total, the suit names 92 officials and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, former Robb Elementary principal Mandy Gutierrez, former Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Peter Arredondo, and Uvalde CISD as a whole, according to AP News.

The families’ attorneys outlined additional measures included in the settlement, such as enhanced police training, support for mental health services, and the establishment of a permanent memorial. According to CBS, the families are pushing for accountability at the state and federal levels, targeting the actions and associated errors of the Department of Public Safety officers and federal law enforcement agencies during the incident.

“You had over 150 some-odd federal officers there who also were there and stood around until one or more breached the room at 77 minutes. Sure, that was a heroic act, [but] it was a heroic act 77 minutes late,” Koskoff told CBS.

The announcement comes amid ongoing scrutiny of law enforcement’s response to the shooting, with a Justice Department report labeling it a failure with an array of errors committed by response teams.

“The victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School deserved better. The law enforcement response at Robb Elementary on May 24th, 2022 — and the response by officials in the hours and days after — was a failure, ” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the report.

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