The FBI issued an extraordinary apology Friday afternoon, revealing that it had received a tip on Jan. 5, 2018, that Nikolas Cruz was acting erratically and may have been planning a school shooting. The agency failed to act on the tip.
Forty days later, Cruz, 19, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, mowing down students and staff with an AR-15. Seventeen people died.
“We are still investigating the facts,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement emailed to reporters. “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.”
After the FBI received the tip, according to the statement, it should have been deemed a credible threat. Then protocol would say the information should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where the investigation would have been launched. But the information was never passed to Miami and no further investigation was undertaken. “We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the [public access line] on January 5,” the FBI’s statement read.
This was the second tip the FBI had received about Cruz’s plan to become a school shooter. The first came in Sept. 2017 when a YouTube vlogger called the FBI with a tip that a user called “nikolas cruz,” left a chilling comment on one of his videos. "I'm going to be a professional school shooter,” it read. Ben Bennight, the Mississippi-based vlogger, said that
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” the statement 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.”