- The FBI said it didn’t follow protocols when it received a tip on Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in Wednesday’s Florida school shooting.
- Cruz, 19, allegedly killed 17 people when he opened fire on his former high school.
- The FBI acknowledged that a person close to Cruz had called in warning about Cruz’s desire to kill.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of Justice Department procedures.
- Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign.
The FBI said on Friday that it had failed to follow protocols in handling a tip on the suspected Florida shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who authorities said killed 17 people on Wednesday.
A person close to Cruz had phoned the FBI’s tip line in January to report details about his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour, 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 statement went on. “The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement that the bureau was investigating the incident and intended to get “to the bottom of what happened.”
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrible tragedy,” Wray added.
‘They need to do their freaking jobs’
The FBI’s admission prompted immediate outrage from survivors of the massacre and lawmakers.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott soon called for Wray’s resignation and said simply acknowledging the mistake “isn’t going to cut it.”
“The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,” Scott said in a statement, ABC News reported. “An apology will never bring these 17 Floridians back to life or comfort the families who are in pain. The families will spend a lifetime wondering how this could happen, and an apology will never give them the answers they desperately need.”
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also called the FBI’s admission “inexcusable” and demanded that the House and Senate launch their own investigations into the FBI’s tip-handling protocols.
“The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough,” Rubio said in a statement. “Lawmakers and law enforcement personnel constantly remind the public that ‘if you see something, say something.’ In this tragic case, people close to the shooter said something, and our system utterly failed the families of seventeen innocent souls.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since ordered a review of Justice Department procedures, the Associated Press reported.
One student who survived the shooting, 19-year-old Chris Grady,told NBC News that the victims “might be alive today if [the FBI] had done their job.”
“Our government is failing us,” Grady added. “They need to do their freaking jobs. I’m sorry, but this is so infuriating.”
More details have emerged in recent days from Cruz’s former classmates, teachers, and neighbours about the pattern of disturbing behaviour he had displayed in recent years.
The FBI also received a tip from a YouTube vlogger about a comment from a user who called himself “nikolas cruz.” The comment said he wanted to be a “professional school shooter,” but the FBI said it couldn’t confirm the identity of the user.
Cruz is being held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder. He appeared in court on Thursday.
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