DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS OF GEORGIA COURTHOUSE SHOOTING
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has awarded the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council $63,000 to provide mental health counseling services to the victims who witnessed the March 11, 2005, Fulton County Courthouse shootings and carjackings. This funding will supplement resources provided by the Georgia Crime Victim Compensation Program to aid victims and their family members who were killed or physically injured.
"The tragedy that occurred at the Fulton County Courthouse left many victims struggling in the aftermath of the shootings," said Tracy A. Henke, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. "The Department of Justice is committed to making sure crime victims' needs are addressed and this award supports the ongoing efforts to assist with the healing."
The individual, who was on trial for rape, allegedly overpowered a deputy, stole her gun and opened fire in the Atlanta courtroom where the trial was to resume the day of the incident. A judge and court reporter were killed inside a courtroom. Outside, a sheriff's deputy was killed and a federal agent was killed north of downtown. The suspect was arrested 26 hours after the shootings started.
The grant is awarded under OJP's Office for Victims of Crime's (OVC) Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes (AEAP). Funds may be used to reimburse victims and their family members for such expenses as funeral and burial, medical, mental health counseling, lost wages and loss of support. The AEAP provides support to victim assistance services and supplements compensation to victims of terrorism and mass violence within the United States and assistance to U.S. citizens and government employees who are victims of terrorism and mass violence abroad.
"We are committed to serving the rights and needs of crime victims and survivors so that the help and hope they seek will not be forgotten," said John W. Gillis, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime.
To be eligible for reimbursement, the victims are required to receive services from mental health professionals duly licensed by the appropriate state authority. The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will oversee the process for administering the required documents and verifications supporting the payments.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.