Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had harsh words for the FBI after news broke today that the agency failed to follow their own protocols after a complaint was made back in January about the accused Parkland, Florida school shooter.
As I wrote for RedState earlier, news reports have revealed deeply troubling information regarding what authorities knew about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who killed seventeen students and wounded an unknown number of others in a Valentine’s Day shooting:
Many of Cruz’s neighbors and former classmates have told reporters stories of his disturbing behavior, including stealing mail, torturing animals, an obsession with firearms, and frequently discussing morbid topics like school shootings.
Cruz also made numerous online posts about school shootings or murder, making comments like, “I wanna shoot people with my AR-15” and “Im going to be a professional school shooter,” the later of which was under his uniquely spelled name and was confirmed as reported to the FBI.
Cruz’s behavior resulted in his suspension and eventual expulsion from Stoneman Douglas High, and the police had been called to his home thirty-nine times since 2010.
Perhaps most infuriatingly, news broke today that a specific complaint was made to the FBI on January 5th of this year that Cruz had the potential of “conducting a school shooting,” including “information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts.”
The FBI has now admitted that they failed to follow their own protocols in response to this complaint.
“We are still investigating the facts,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray released a statement. “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.”
This was inexcusable, said Rubio in a sharply-worded statement, adding that the FBI’s own internal investigation was insufficient and calling for immediate Congressional investigations into the FBI’s protocols.
It is inexcusable that the FBI failed to follow protocols and inform the Miami Field Office that people close to the Parkland, FL shooter warned the Bureau over a month ago of his desire to kill, his mental state, and erratic behavior. The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough. Both the House and Senate need to immediately initiate their own investigations into the FBI’s protocols for ensuring tips from the public about potential killers are followed through. Lawmakers and law enforcement personnel constantly remind the public that ‘if you see something, say something.’ In this tragic case, people close to the shooter said something, and our system utterly failed the families of seventeen innocent souls.
Rubio is far from alone in his frustration about this news. If we are to view “if you see something, say something” as anything other than a cruel joke, it is imperative that the authorities respond by making sure someone actually does something in response.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.