The U.S. government must pay over $230 million to the survivors and families of victims of a 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tx., a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez said the determination was based on the suffering of the families of the 26 people killed in the attack and the injuries of survivors. Unlike other government settlements for victims of mass shootings, the lawsuit by the Sutherland Springs survivors and families went to trial. Rodriguez ruled last summer that the U.S. Air Force was mostly responsible for the rampage, reports the Wall Street Journal. Air Force officials neglected to add the shooter, a former airman who had been convicted of domestic assault, to a federal database that would have barred him from legally buying the firearm he used to open fire in the rural Texas town. The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history and one of the deadliest ever in the U.S. “The families brought this case to break the Air Force’s chain of failing to report convicted felons to the federal criminal background check system and to be sure something similar doesn’t happen again,” said Justin Demerath, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “No amount of money can bring back their loved ones, but hopefully this verdict helps accomplish their goal of making the country a safer place. Hopefully now they can get some closure.” In October, the U.S. said it would pay a total of $88 million to the victims of a mass shooting at a Black church in Charleston, S.C. The attack followed a botched FBI background check that should have barred the shooter from purchasing his gun. The Sutherland Springs plaintiffs—representing 80 family members of victims and survivors—sought about $400 million, saying that was in line with the Charleston settlement.
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