In a startling announcement, the FBI said in a news release moments ago that someone "close to Nikolas Cruz" called the bureau this past January 5 — slightly more than 30 days before this week's massacre — and warned the federal government that Cruz owned guns and had expressed a desire to commit a school shooting.
In a remarkable moment of candor, FBI Director Christopher Wray said today that the agency failed to investigate the claim or alert the Miami field office.
"Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life," Wray said. "The information should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami field office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken."
Instead, Wray said, "these protocols were not followed" and no one bothered to check up on Cruz. He killed 17 people a month later.
FBI says it received a specific, credible tip about Nikolas Cruz in January — including the possibility that he could conduct a school shooting — and mishandled it. pic.twitter.com/GIjhzJII0m— Ali Watkins (@AliWatkins) February 16, 2018
This was not the first time local or federal law enforcement was warned about Cruz: A YouTube user emailed the FBI last September to say a user with Cruz's name was threatening violence online.
And between 2010 and 2016, the Broward County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to Cruz's home 36 times after neighbors reported that Nikolas Cruz and his brother Zachary had been acting erratically. Cruz, who reportedly has
(The leader of a white-supremacist militia has also claimed Cruz trained with his group in Tallahassee and used what he learned to kill Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, but authorities have not found hard evidence to back up that claim, and the leader of the group has since tried to walk back his statements.)
The admission comes at a politically precarious time for Wray. President Donald Trump has been criticizing the FBI for months in an attempt to discredit the bureau's Trump-Russia investigation. Donald Trump Jr. this week infamously "liked" a tweet claiming the FBI was "too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing its freaking job."
Critics on the right have already spent much of the week blaming law enforcement for failing to prevent the Parkland shooting, claiming the FBI is more to blame than the nation's lax gun laws. Florida Governor Rick Scott has already called on Wray to resign today. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a thoughtless human flatworm who has received millions in funding from the National Rifle Association, has since attacked the FBI for its failures today:
The FBI's critics on the left have instead argued the bureau spends far too much time surveilling innocent Muslims and
Regardless, Cruz was legally allowed to purchase an AR-15-style assault rifle once he turned 18. And he has since confessed to using that gun to kill 14 teenagers and three adults this past Wednesday.
This is a breaking story. This post will be updated.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.