Parents of Fil-Am student killed in Parkland massacre sues US gov't

Lenn Almadin Thornhill, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2019 08:56 AM

The parents of 16-year-old Filipino-American student Carmen Schentrup, who was killed in a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day last year, filed a lawsuit against the US government for negligence.

The complaint alleges that the Federal Bureau of Investigation ignored a tip weeks before the mass shooting that the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was "going to slip into a school and start shooting up the place." 

Seventeen people were killed that day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“The FBI was provided with detailed information ahead of this tragedy and was in a unique position to prevent Carmen’s death. The FBI utterly failed to follow its own protocols and procedures by failing to investigate and fulfill its duty,” sabi Robert Stein, the Schentrup family’s lawyer in a phone interview with Balitang America. 

The complaint alleges that the FBI got enough warnings about the confessed shooter including one the agency reportedly received just 40 days before the shooting from a woman who knew Cruz. 

The lawsuit also shows several screenshots of Cruz's social media accounts, including the one he posted on a YouTube page that was reported to the FBI. 

“The information was never forwarded to a field office or to any of our state and local partners for review or action,” said David Bowdich, deputy director of the FBI. 

On March 14th, a month after the school massacre, then acting deputy director of the FBI David Bowdich outlined before a United States Senate judiciary committee investigating the shooting the missed tips the agency received about Cruz. 

“The FBI could have and should have done more to investigate the information it was provided prior to the shooting,” he said. 

Despite that admission, the Schentrup faces a tough legal battle. Their lawyer said it is generally difficult to the sue the federal government.

Another Parkland family filed a lawsuit against the FBI in November 2018. 

Both families claim that if the agency had just followed what they were supposed to do, then their daughters would be alive today. Both lawsuits claim wrongful death damages for their losses but they do not state monetary amount.

Meanwhile, the court set the start of the murder trial on January 20, 2020.

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