The FBI says it failed to investigate a specific report in January that Nikolas Cruz could be plotting a school shooting.
The agency said Friday that the tip should’ve been investigated thoroughly because it was a potential threat to life. Cruz has been arrested and charged with killing 17 people at a high school earlier this week.
On Jan. 5, a tipster who was close to Cruz called the FBI and provided information about Cruz’s guns, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts. The FBI says the caller expressed concerns Cruz could attack a school.
The FBI was also notified about a comment on a YouTube video posted by a “Nikolas Cruz” last year. It investigated the comment but did not determine who made it.
Here is the full statement from the FBI:
On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. 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.
Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. 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 for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said:
“We are 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. 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. 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.”