The Slatest

FBI Admits It Ignored Tip That Parkland Gunman Might Commit School Shooting

Mourners attend a funeral on February 16, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.
Mourners attend the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff on Friday in Parkland, Florida. Alhadeff was one of 17 people killed in Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The FBI has admitted it mishandled a tip it received before the shooting in Parkland, Florida, warning that Nikolas Cruz might carry out a school shooting.

In a statement Friday, authorities admitted the FBI received a tip from someone “close to” Cruz in January expressing concern 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 failed to follow up on this tip.

On Wednesday, Cruz, a troubled, gun-obsessed 19-year-old former student, carried out the second-deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement that the FBI was investigating the oversight and “deeply regret[s] the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.” He added that he was “reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public.”

On Thursday, it was revealed that the FBI had been warned about Cruz even earlier, in September, though the FBI could not identify him at the time. Under a video on YouTube, a user by the name “nikolas cruz” posted “Im going to be a professional school shooter.” A Mississippi man called the FBI about the comment, and the FBI interviewed him the next day. According to the Washington Post, the FBI checked law enforcement databases for anyone by that name who might be a danger but couldn’t identify the commenter. The bureau said this week they believe the commenter was Cruz.

Update, Feb. 16, 2018, at 2:35 p.m.: Sen. Marco Rubio released a statement Friday calling for a congressional investigation into the FBI’s failure to follow up on the tip. “The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough,” he said in the 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 about potential killers are followed through.”

Molly Olmstead is a Slate assistant social media editor.