The FBI says that someone called into its tipline to report concerns about Nikolas Cruz, who has told police he killed 17 people in a Florida high school this week – but that the bureau failed to follow protocols to assess the threat.
The bureau says a person close to Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line on January 8 to report concerns about him. Those concerns included information about Cruz’s gun ownership, a desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts.
The caller specifically mentioned the potential of Cruz carrying out a school shooting.
Under FBI protocols, that information should have been assessed as a potential threat to life, and forwarded to its Miami field office for further investigation.
But that never happened.
The information wasn’t sent to the Miami office, and the FBI did not investigate. More than five weeks after the the FBI received the tip, fourteen students and three staff members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“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. 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,” Wray added. “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.”
This story has been updated.