Since Wednesday’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, more and more information about the alleged gunman, Nikolas Cruz has come to light. From the tactics he employed during the attack to what he was doing when he was subsequently caught, investigators now have a better picture of who Cruz is. Yet one of the more damning bits of information concerns the fact that the FBI was reportedly warned about comments Cruz made on a YouTube video five months prior, but initially did nothing. To make matters worse, the FBI is now admitting it received a tip about Cruz’s behavior in early January.
According to a statement released by the FBI on Friday, someone close to Cruz called the bureau’s tip line “to report concerns about him” on January 5th. Among other things, they “provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” FBI protocols dictated that the information “should have been assessed as a potential threat to life” and “forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.” But that didn’t happen.
FBI Director Christopher Wray addressed the matter in the same statement:
“We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it.”
Seeing as how the agency is still trying to determine why the tip wasn’t properly assessed and forwarded to the Miami field office for further scrutiny, the reasoning behind the apparent failure in protocol remains to be seen. Considering the pressure mounting against the FBI and other authority groups who may have been clued into Cruz’s intentions, however, this likely won’t be the last we hear of this.
UPDATE: Florida Governor Rick Scott is now calling for Wray to resign as FBI director over their failure to act on the Cruz tip, per NBC News.