FBI failed to investigate second tip on suspect prior to Florida school shooting

Posted at 12:42 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 16:13:54-05

WASHINGTON — The FBI says that a person contacted the agency with concerns about suspected Florida school shooter a month before the shooting, but it failed to investigate.


The FBI released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

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.”

This was the second tip the FBI reportedly received on Nikolas Cruz prior to the shooting. Last fall, a video blogger in Mississippi noticed a comment on one of his YouTube videos that read, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” He immediately reported it to YouTube and the FBI. Agents met with him to take a printout of the comment and ask him whether he knew anything about the person who posted it. 

Despite the fact that the commenter's username was “Nikolas Cruz," the FBI says that they were unable to identify the person who posted the comment.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked into a Broward County high school on Wednesday with an AR-15 rifle and opened fire, killing 17 people and sending students running for their lives, according to the Broward County Sheriff. He confessed to the crime following his arrest. 

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. On Thursday a Judge ordered Cruz to be held without bond.