Top House Republicans said Wednesday that a senior FBI official had briefed lawmakers on the agency's failure to respond to warnings about the teenager accused of carrying out a deadly shooting at a South Florida high school last month.
Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich met with lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees Tuesday to discuss the missteps, which were revealed in the days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Bowdich acknowledged that the FBI failed to follow its own protocol after it received a tip in January about the accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, and vowed to take corrective actions, according to a press release issued by Reps. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (R-Va.), the chairmen of the Oversight and Judiciary committees, respectively.
The FBI admitted just two days after the Feb. 14 shooting that it received a tip from a person close to Cruz the previous month warning about the teen's gun ownership, desire to kill and erratic behavior.
That tip "should have been assessed as a potential threat to life," the FBI said at the time, but the warnings were never investigated further.
Bowdich told lawmakers on Tuesday that the call to a tip line provided enough information to justify an FBI probe into the matter, lawmakers said, though information was not passed on to the agency's Miami field office.
The person who took the tip line call spoke with their supervisor afterwards, but that conversation was not documented, according to Gowdy and Goodlatte.
Bowdich also said that the employee who took the January phone call was able to connect the warning to another tip from September regarding a threatening YouTube comment. That comment, posted under the username "nikolas cruz," read, "I am going to be a professional school shooter."
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead and more than a dozen others wounded. Cruz, a former student at the school who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, allegedly carried out the attack with an AR-15 rifle that he purchased legally from a dealer in Coral Springs roughly a year earlier.
A grand jury in Broward County returned an indictment for Cruz on Wednesday, charging him with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Cruz's public defender has said that the teen will plead guilty to the charges if prosecutors agree not to pursue the death penalty. Michael Satz, the state attorney prosecuting the case, has not said whether he will seek a death sentence for Cruz.