PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – The FBI said it received a tip about Nikolas Cruz six weeks before the deadly mass shooting but no one did anything about it.
Newly released surveillance video shows Cruz just after the shooting walking into a McDonald’s restaurant.
“And casually walks down the street as if life goes on,” said Rabbi Hershy Bronstein about the video which came from Cha Center Chabad’s surveillance camera.
Cruz has since confessed, according to court documents, to the mass shooting at his former high school that left 17 people dead and 14 others injured on Wednesday, February 14, 2018.
But five and a half weeks before the deadly shooting, the FBI says they received a tip about him.
According to the FBI, someone called the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline on January 5, 2018, 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,” the FBI said in a statement.
An employee in West Virginia took down the information. The person was not an agent but was trained to take the calls and pass along information when appropriate.
“It is inexcusable that the FBI failed to follow protocols and inform the Miami Field Office that people close to the Parkland shooter warned the Bureau over a month ago of his desire to kill, his mental state, and erratic behavior. The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough,” said Senator Marco Rubio in a statement. “Both the House and Senate need to immediately initiate their own investigations into the FBI’s protocols for ensuring tips from the public about potential killers are followed through.”
Rep. Ted Deutch, who district includes Parkland, said a statement, “I will be in close communication with the FBI so that we get to the bottom of this. The FBI and the U.S. Congress must conduct a full oversight investigation of the FBI’s internal processes, procedures, and, in this case, apparent failures.”
Governor Rick Scott took it a step further. He’s called for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable. The FBI has admitted that they were contacted last month by a person who called to inform them of Cruz’s ‘desire to kill people,’ and ‘the potential of him conducting a school shooting’, said Scott in a statement.
Scott concluded by saying, “We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow through from law enforcement. The FBI Director needs to resign.”
According to a statement released by the FBI, “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 (tip line) 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.”
His statement went on, “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.”
The FBI is also accused of dropping the ball last September when a blogger in Mississippi alerted them to a comment someone left on a YouTube video.
“I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” read the comment, left by a user with the name Nikolas Cruz.
On Thursday, the FBI addressed that incident.
“The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Rob Lasky.
According to the FBI, when the blogger notified YouTube, it removed the comment.
Agent Lasky said, “No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment.”
The attorney general now wants a full review of what went wrong.
The Broward County Sheriffs’ records also revealed 20 calls for service during the past few years over disturbances involving Cruz and his younger brother.
In Sept 2016, sheriffs responding to a call were met by Cruz’s mother and therapist who said that he suffered from mental illness and had been cutting his arms…to get attention.”
On top of that, he had mentioned in the past that “he would like to purchase a firearm”.
Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bond. Cruz wants to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty, according to prosecutors.