Washington, Feb 17 (IANS) The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) admitted on Friday that it received a tip in January on Nikolas Cruz, the Florida school shooter who killed 17 people earlier this week, but failed to follow up.
According to the FBI, a person close to the shooter called the agency’s tip line on January 5 to warn about “Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting”, Xinhua reported.
The statement came two days after Cruz, 19, opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the city of Parkland in Broward County.
Besides the 17 killings, the shooting also injured 14 others.
“Under established protocols, the information provided by the called should have been assessed as a potential threat of life,” the FBI said in a statement.
“The information then should have been forward to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.”
The FBI said that those protocols were not followed for the January tip, therefore, the information was not provided to the Miami office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.
Wednesday’s massacre raised concerns about potential failure in school security and sparks ongoing US debates on gun control.
“We are still investigating the facts,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” Wray added.
Cruz, who was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons, made a brief court appearance on Thursday and was ordered held without bond.