Families of Vegas victims, survivors to receive $1.25m from FBI

Lawyers for Stephen Paddock’s victims and survivors announced settlement of $1.25m payment The families of the people killed by Stephen Paddock on Las Vegas’s iconic Las Vegas strip last October have settled with the…

Families of Vegas victims, survivors to receive $1.25m from FBI

Lawyers for Stephen Paddock’s victims and survivors announced settlement of $1.25m payment

The families of the people killed by Stephen Paddock on Las Vegas’s iconic Las Vegas strip last October have settled with the US government for $1.25m, marking the largest payout for families of gun-related tragedies.

The settlement comes amid growing pressure from politicians on the FBI to explain why it failed to act on a credible tip from an Australian intelligence worker that Paddock might be plotting a mass shooting.

Paddock, a gambler and retired accountant, killed 58 people and injured nearly 800 with a barrage of gunfire from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel in September.

After the Las Vegas shooting the FBI, and the then president, Barack Obama, tried to reassure Americans that the agency, under the authority of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was still able to respond appropriately to violent threats and recognize the safety of Americans.

The FBI has acknowledged that it had received several tips before the shootings suggesting Paddock was planning an attack, including a bizarre email warning of a secret government compound in rural Nevada and an anonymous call warning of a man with an assault rifle who was surveilling a concert in Las Vegas.

But the FBI failed to act on either of those warnings. There is currently no indication that the bureau had other evidence about Paddock before the shooting, FBI agent Aaron Rouse said.

Under a legal settlement expected to be filed on Thursday in Clark county superior court, Paddock’s victims and survivors will receive $1.25m. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will pay $150,000 in legal fees.

The settlement is unusual because most mass shootings leave families in a race against time to divide up the pennies for relatively small amounts of money. Victims typically receive a small portion of what their loved ones might have earned if they had lived, and once the killing is over, they are done.

The bigger percentage of the settlement paid to survivors could go toward paying off outstanding legal bills for victims and families, as well as to helping them find other survivors or family members who have been affected by a mass shooting.

A lawyer for two of the families declined to comment ahead of the settlement.

The estate of shooter’s wife also settles with federal government for $10m Read more

The Las Vegas shooting marks the second mass shooting payout for the Justice Department this year. The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it has paid $10m to the estate of the late Marilou Danley, Paddock’s 62-year-old widow, as part of a settlement over the disclosure of evidence that she aided her husband in his attack.

A representative for the Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

As part of the settlement for Paddock’s victims, the FBI must also admit “its investigation into the circumstances of the massacre was deficient in several respects”, and that its officials “failed to take timely action to determine if [Paddock] was planning additional attacks”.

According to the settlement, FBI officials will submit a “statement of facts” to Las Vegas superior court in a year, detailing the findings and steps that the FBI has taken to prevent a repeat of what happened in Las Vegas.

In Australia, intelligence analysts inside the Australian Federal Police raised concerns about Paddock’s influence and extremist views during his days in the United States, according to Australian media reports.

The Australian working group was tasked with investigating the suicide of Farook and Malik, the husband and wife attackers who killed 14 people and injured several more in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.

The group investigated Paddock after his travel to the United States from his home country, but found no evidence of terrorist links, the media reports said.

The FBI had previously acknowledged receiving the Australian intelligence tip in 2016.

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