FBI failed to follow up on tip regarding Florida high school shooter's 'desire to kill'

FBI failed to follow up on tip regarding Florida high school shooter's 'desire to kill'
Photo via WPTV
The FBI was warned last month that Nikolas Cruz had a "desire to kill people" and was at risk of committing a school shooting, but the agency failed to follow up on the tip.

Weeks after that warning, authorities say Cruz took an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday and walked onto campus with an AR-15 rifle in duffle bag. About 20 minutes before the school day ended, Cruz fired more than 100 rounds at students and teachers. The 19-year-old suspect is accused of killing at least 17 people.

The FBI says a person close to Cruz contacted the agency's tipline on Jan. 5 to report concerns 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," according to a statement.

FBI officials say the caller's information "should have been assessed as a potential threat to life" under established protocols, and the information should have been forwarded to the FBI's Miami field office for further investigation.

"We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received," the statement said. "The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time."

BuzzFeed News reports that from 2010 to 2016, the Broward County Sheriff's Office responded to at least 36 emergency calls at the house where Cruz lived with his younger brother and mother. During a 2016 incident, his mother told deputies Cruz had been "cutting his arms" to get attention and talked about purchasing a firearm. Reports noted that he "suffered from mental illness" and had sought treatment at a clinic. In a 2013 incident, deputies noted that Cruz's mother said he "threw a chair, dog bowl, and glass across the room, screaming that his mom was a 'useless bitch'" after she took his video games.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency is "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," Wray said. "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."

Wray said the bureau has 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," Wray said.

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