The lawyer for a Florida teen shot five times in the bloody rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has given notice of what would be the first lawsuit filed against Broward County officials stemming from the Feb. 14 tragedy.
Anthony Borges, 15, was hailed a hero by classmates who said he was attempting to close and lock their classroom door when he was shot twice in the torso and three times in the legs. Seventeen teachers, staff and students died in the carnage.
“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,” attorney Alex Arreaza says in the letter. “Such action or inaction led to the personal injuries sustained by my client.”
The notice of "intent to file claim" was sent to the county, Sheriff Scott Israel, Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and the state financial risk management division.
Israel was among those who lauded Anthony's heroics in the days following the shooting. "The Sheriff was honored to visit Anthony Borges,15, in the hospital," Israel's office said in Twitter post showing Israel next to Anthony's hospital bed.
A gofundme account set up for Anthony's family says the soccer player was able to save about 20 other students as the gunman drew closer. Donations to the account totaled more than $600,000 as of Tuesday.
Anthony has undergone several surgeries but remains unable to walk and perform "rudimentary" tasks, Arreaza says. The damages to be sought in the suit will be determined later, the letter says.
“By the grace of God he’s not No. 18,” Arreaza told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “But it’s going to be a tough recovery. … It’s a miracle that we’re even talking about recovery.”
Arreaza told the Miami Herald that Anthony used skills from his Boy Scout training to fashion a tourniquet to slow his own bleeding during the attack. Still, Arreaza estimates that medical bills will exceed $1 million.
“Unfortunately medical bills can bankrupt a family and it has to be addressed,” Arreaza said. “There could have been a lot more done to prevent this tragedy.”