The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it mishandled a January tip that the 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people in Florida had guns and the potential to carry out a school shooting.
A person close to accused gunman Nikolas Cruz called an FBI tip line on January 5 to report concerns about him, the FBI said in a statement.
“The caller provided information 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,” it said.
The tip appeared unrelated to a previously reported You Tube comment in which a person named Nikolas Cruz said, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
The FBI has acknowledged getting that tip as well but failing to connect it to Cruz, who is accused of carrying out the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida with an AR-15-style assault rifle.
“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the FBI said in its statement.
“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.”
The second-deadliest shooting at a public school in US history also raised concerns about potential failures in school security and stirred the ongoing debate about gun rights, which are protected by the
Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
“We are still investigating the facts,” FBI director Christopher Wray said in the statement.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.”