The FBI conceded today that the agency did not follow proper protocols to pursue information on a tipline Jan. 5 about Nikolas Cruz, the self-confessed gunman in the Parkland high school massacre on Valentine’s Day and his “desire to kill people.”
Stunned by the admission, Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott called for the FBI director to resign, saying: “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable.
In an extraordinary statement, the FBI said they did not followup on a call to the FBI’s Public AccessLine (PAL) tipline that reported concerns about Cruz, and his “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,” the FBI said. “We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on Jan. 5. The information was not provide to the Miami Field Office an no further investigation was conducted at that time.”
The apparent mishandling of the information only adds to the tragedy in which 17 people were killed by the former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. The defendant’s lawyer and President Donald Trump has said the 19-year-old Cruz, who had been expelled from the high school, had mental health problems.
News reports today said earlier that a tipster had alerted the FBI in September about a comment Cruz , who allegedly said he was going to be a “professional school shooter.” At the time the bureau checked databases but could not identify it as Cruz, or anyone else, according to the reports.
As a city and a country reels, the FBI is doing some soul-searching.
“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,” FBI Director Christopher 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.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” Wray said. “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.” – Joe Cantlupe