Sun, Feb 18, 2018 - Page 4 News List

FBI failed to follow up on warning about shooter

Bloomberg

The FBI disclosed that it failed to follow up on a detailed warning about the 19-year-old gunman who is charged with killing 17 people and wounding a dozen others at a Florida high school on Wednesday.

A “person close to Nikolas Cruz” contacted the FBI’s public access tipline on Jan. 5 to “report concerns about him,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday.

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 statement said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the FBI’s failure was “unacceptable” and called for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Seventeen innocent people are dead and acknowledging a mistake isn’t going to cut it,” Scott said in a statement. “The FBI director needs to resign.”

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said has initiated a US Department of Justice review of how the FBI acted.

The revelation comes as US President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have criticized the FBI for its conduct of investigations into his campaign and into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of private e-mail while she was secretary of state.

Trump also suggested on Twitter that the Parkland, Florida, community should have reported suspicions about Cruz to authorities.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” he said.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Friday news conference that his office had received more than 20 calls about Cruz in the past few years, according to the Associated Press.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat, said Congress must conduct its own investigation.

The FBI said the information from the caller should have been “assessed as a potential threat to life” and should have been forwarded to its Miami field office, “where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.”

Trump and his wife, Melania, on Friday visited a Florida hospital to offer comfort to those wounded in the shooting.

At Broward Health North Hospital, where the Trumps met with survivors, he thanked the doctors, nurses and first responders for their “incredible” work, and described the carnage as “very sad.”

He later tweeted several pictures of himself and Melania, visiting with a survivor and her family, and with hospital staff.

Additional reporting by AFP

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