The FBI received a tip in January from a person close to Nikolas Cruz expressing concern that he might commit a school shooting, but it was never forwarded to a Miami field office to be investigated, the agency said Friday.
The tipster told the FBI on Jan. 5 that Cruz owned guns, had a desire to kill people, and provided information about his erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts. According to FBI, the tip should have been sent to the FBI's Miami field office to be investigated, but that never happened.
"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," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
The failure to follow up on what may have been a crucial tip on Cruz prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to call on FBI Director Wray to resign, saying that "acknowledging a mistake isn't going to cut it."
"The FBI's failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable," Scott said in a statement. "'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."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also called for a review of FBI and Department of Justice procedures on how they respond to similar information about potentially dangerous individuals.
Sessions said it was clear that "warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed."
"We see the tragic consequences of those failures," Sessions said.
The review ordered by Sessions would "ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indication of potential violence that come to us," according to his statement.
For his part, Wray expressed regret to the families of the shooting victims.
"We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy," he said.
Here's Wray's full statement:
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.
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