By Lisa J. Huriash, Paula McMahon, Megan O’Matz and Tonya Alanez Sun Sentinel
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—The number of people taking their first steps to sue over the Parkland school shooting is growing.
The law firm representing Kyle Laman, a wounded student, on Monday sent a letter of its intent to file a claim against the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Broward School Board and other defendants.
Kyle, 15, is the second student to file notice.
Separately, student survivor Anthony Borges, 15, and his parents notified Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry of their intent to sue. The notice claims negligence on the parts of Broward County Public Schools, Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ principal and its school resource officer.
Kyle and Anthony were among the 16 wounded in the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 people dead.
“Kyle is still dealing with memories of the terror he felt when his classroom was locked and he was stuck in the hallway during the shooting,” a spokesman for The Berman Law Group, which is representing him, wrote in a statement. “The teacher couldn’t get the door open fast enough. Everyone was running scared. Kyle looked at the gunman staring right back at him, and instinctively jumped for cover.
“The bullets were flying, and doctors told his mom one tore though his ankle and foot.”
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to their classrooms Wednesday, two weeks after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 staff and students and wounded 16 in one of the nation’s worst school shootings.
Kyle has undergone two surgeries to reconstruct the ligaments damaged as one of the bullets from Cruz’s AR-15 tore through his right ankle and foot.
Kyle told his family that Cruz looked him in the eye and started shooting. He was hospitalized until March 1.
A letter on behalf of Kyle was sent to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which alleges the school resource deputy “failed to act at the moment of need.”
Kyle’s attorneys sent a letter to the FBI, which had been warned about Cruz; Henderson Behavioral Health, which treated Cruz; and the Florida Department of Children and Families for negligence. Attorneys allege that the Department of Children and Families determined Cruz was not a risk “and apparently did nothing to assist in the prevention of the mass shooting” although there were “warning signs stretching back over a decade.”
The Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children and Families could not be reached for comment. The School Board and the FBI declined to comment.
In a statement to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Henderson Behavioral Health said it is legally unable to share or comment on a patient’s treatment because of state and federal privacy rules that protect personal health information.
Kyle was saved that day by an off-duty Coral Springs police officer who had been watering the sports fields in gym clothes. Sgt. Jeff Heinrich, who didn’t have his gun, grabbed Kyle and treated him with a first-aid kit, then called police.
When help arrived, Heinrich grabbed a vest and a spare rifle from the back of a captain’s cruiser and got to work.
The other student, Anthony, was shot five times. He was struck twice in his right leg, once in his left leg and twice in his torso, Anthony’s attorney, Alex Arreaza, said. He remains in the hospital.
“By the grace of God, he’s not No. 18,” Arreaza said. “But it’s going to be a tough recovery. … It’s a miracle that we’re even talking about recovery.”
Anthony is currently unable to walk, has undergone several surgeries and remains hospitalized at Broward Health Medical Center. His medical bills are sure to top $1 million, Arreaza said.
“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,” Arreaza wrote.
©2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)