The Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted Friday that “protocols were not followed” after they received a tip in January about shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
“We are still investigating the facts,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “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.”
According to the statement, a person close to Cruz called the FBI’s Public Access Line and reported concerns about him on Jan. 5, 2018.
“The caller 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,” the statement read.
The information from the caller “should have been assessed as a potential threat to life” and then given to the FBI Miami Field Office, “where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken,” under the established protocols.
“We have determined that these protocols were not followed,” the statement read. “The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”
Cruz, 19, allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people.
He had a history of posting disturbing content to his social media accounts, and on Wednesday, YouTuber Ben Bennight posted a video to the platform claiming that in September 2017, a user named “Nikolas Cruz” commented on one of his previous videos.
“Im going to be a professional school shooter,” the comment read. At the time, Bennight took screenshots of the comment and alerted both the FBI and YouTube.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky confirmed Thursday that the FBI had gotten a tip about the comment.
“In 2017 the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel,” Lasky told reporters at a news briefing. “The comment simply said, ‘I am going to be a professional school shooter.’”
However, they were unable to identify who the user responsible for the comment was.
“No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment,” Lasky added. “The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.”
The FBI’s failure to identify the user has raised questions about whether more could have been done to prevent Wednesday’s massacre, which left 17 people dead.
Cruz was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
He reportedly confessed to the crime.
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