The families of two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students injured in the mass shooting at their school announced separate plans on Monday to sue officials in Broward County, Florida, over the incident.
In letters of intent released this week, lawyers representing the students and their parents pin blame on law enforcement, Broward County and Broward County Public Schools for failing to protect Stoneman Douglas students from the gunman.
Anthony Borges and Kyle Laman, both 15, suffered gunshot wounds that landed them in the hospital for weeks. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office says a 19-year-old former student confessed to killing 17 students and teachers with an assault-style rifle at the school.
The gunman shot Borges, 15, five times ― three times in his legs and twice in his torso ― while Borges was trying to close and lock the door to a classroom, a move that protected about 20 classmates. Using his knowledge as a Boy Scout, Borges then fashioned a makeshift tourniquet to slow his own bleeding.
Borges remains hospitalized at Broward Health Medical Center, still unable to walk. He’s having “a great deal of difficulty performing rudimentary tasks for himself, requiring assistance constantly,” attorney Alex Arreaza said in a letter of intent provided to HuffPost.
“The failure of Broward County Public Schools and of the Principal and School Resource Officer to adequately protect students, and in particular our client, from life-threatening harm were unreasonable, callous and negligent,” the letter continued. “Such action or inaction led to the personal injuries sustained by my client.”
Borges’ family seeks unspecified monetary damages. As of Tuesday, a GoFundMe page has raised $617,000 of a $700,000 goal to cover his medical bills.
The failure ... to adequately protect students, and in particular our client, from life-threatening harm [was] unreasonable, callous and negligent. Alex Arreaza, attorney for student Anthony Borges and his family
The gunman was able to shoot Laman, also 15, through his right ankle and foot because a teacher couldn’t open a door quickly enough to help him escape from the hall. Sgt. Jeff Heinrich from the nearby Coral Springs Police Department encountered Laman near the school parking lot and gave him medical attention. The teen provided an accurate description of the shooter that helped police.
As of Tuesday, a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the Laman family had raised $39,000 of a $50,000 goal.
Among those named in the lawsuit Arreaza plans to file on behalf of Borges and his family are Broward County, county administrator Bertha Henry, Broward County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
The Broward County School Board, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Florida Department of Children and Families received a separate letter of intent to pursue legal action from the Berman Law Group, on behalf of Laman and his parents, the Miami Herald reported.
A school board representative told the Herald that government agencies do not comment on lawsuits before they are filed, per policy.