FBI Admits It Failed to Investigate Tip About School Shooter

A “person close” to the accused mass murder warned the bureau in January, but the FBI failed to advance it. In response, Florida’s governor called upon the FBI chief to resign.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Nearly 48 hours after a teen gunman’s rampage killed 17 teachers and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the FBI revealed that it failed to follow protocol after receiving a warning that alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz wanted to attack a high school.

The bureau never transmitted the January 5 warning to its Miami field office, where officials would have investigated the tip. According to the FBI, a “person close” to Cruz contacted the bureau’s tip line and “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.”

Cruz, 19, was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder for each of the victims he allegedly slaughtered the day before in Parkland, Florida. When he was questioned by police, Cruz confessed to perpetrating one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history, telling authorities that he “began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds.”

Hours later, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office released the names of those who died. Another fifteen people were hospitalized.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he “deeply regrets” the “additional pain” that Friday’s revelation has caused the community.

“We are still investigating the facts,” he 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.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Florida Gov. Rick Scott both followed up on Wray’s statement by lamenting the FBI’s “failure” to heed the initial warning about Cruz.

Scott went an extra step further, deeming the bureau’s “mistake” as “unacceptable” and calling on Wray to resign immediately.

“Seventeen innocent people are dead and acknowledging a mistake isn’t going to cut it,” he said. “An apology will never bring these 17 Floridians back to life or comfort the families who are in pain. The families will spend a lifetime wondering how this could happen, and an apology will never give them the answers they desperately need.”

Sessions ordered a review of Department of Justice and FBI processes.

“We will make this a top priority,” he said. “It has never been more important to encourage every person in every community to spot the warning signs and alert law enforcement. Do not assume someone else will step up—all of us must be vigilant. Our children’s lives depend on it.”