How many warning signs did law enforcement miss before the confessed high school shooter in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people? With another video of the young man taken by a neighbor, we can add another red flag to the pile.
In the video, the 19-year-old can be seen taking several practice shots before putting the gun in his waistband and walking back inside.
Here’s the footage:
The footage, which first surfaced last week, adds to the mountain of evidence that people knew the shooter was a problem — including law enforcement.
The FBI has already come forward and admitted it had information that the shooter was a threat and failed to pass it on to the Miami FBI office.
“The caller provided information about (the shooter’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 bureau said in a statement.
“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the burea said.
“The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken. We have determined that these protocols were not followed.”
The FBI also failed to connect another tip — a posting under the alleged shooter’s name in which he said “I’m going to be a professional school shooter” — to the alleged gunman himself.
Australia’s News.com reports that the alleged shooter was investigated as far back as 2016 for slashing his arm in an internet video. Authorities at that time determined that he was “receiving sufficient support” and declined to take action.
CNN also reported Saturday that more than 30 police incident reports had been filed against the shooter or his brother, including for violent assaults against his adoptive mother. Some of these incidents included the alleged shooter hitting the woman with a vacuum hose and throwing “a chair, dog bowl and drinking glass across the room” after having his Xbox privileges revoked for refusing to go to school.
“The incident reports, which are as recent as September 2016, describe Cruz as suffering from mental illness and being ’emotionally handicapped,’ and being on behavioral medication. One notes, ‘He has mentioned in the past that he would like to purchase a firearm.'”
A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the Feb. 14 attack took 17 lives, said staff didn’t even allow Cruz to have a backpack on campus.
“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” math teacher Jim Gard, who had the shooter in his class last year, told the Miami Herald. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”
One student at the high school probably put it most succinctly: “I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” 17-year-old Dakota Mutchler told reporters.
Yet, in spite of all of these red flags — neighbors filming him taking practice shots, two separate FBI tips, 30 police reports, numerous social media incidents — authorities still weren’t able to act.
President Trump has called the failure of the FBI “unacceptable.” It’s not just the FBI. This is a tragedy that could have been prevented if law enforcement or the community had acted on the myriad warning signs.
In the wake of this shooting, we hear calls for new laws. Yet how can we have any faith these new laws will do anything if we won’t enforce the laws we already have, or follow up on the information law enforcement have already received?
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