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story.lead_photo.caption People embrace Friday at a memorial for the victims of the school shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. A Jan. 5 tip to the FBI about the suspect was not forwarded to the Miami field office, officials said.

The FBI failed to act on a tip in January from a person close to suspect Nikolas Cruz warning that he owned a gun and might carry out a school shooting, the bureau acknowledged Friday, an admission that prompted Gov. Rick Scott of Florida to call for the bureau's director to resign.

The bureau, which was already under considerable political pressure because of its investigation into President Donald Trump, faced calls for even more scrutiny after the massacre at the high school in Parkland, Fla.

Scott said that Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, should step down and that the bureau's failure to act on the tip about Cruz was "unacceptable."

"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."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he had ordered his deputy attorney general -- the No. 2 law enforcement official in the country -- to review the bureau's handling of the matter.

"It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed," Sessions said in a statement. "We see the tragic consequences of those failures."

He added, "The FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better."

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida said that he will be in "close communication with the FBI" and said the FBI and Congress needed to conduct a full oversight investigation of the FBI's processes and procedures.

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Photos by The Associated Press

Sen. Marco Rubio also asked for Congress to investigate how the FBI mishandled this tip.

In more evidence that there had been signs of trouble with the suspect, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Friday news conference that his office had received more than 20 calls about Nikolas Cruz in the past few years.

The FBI's revelation comes at a particularly difficult time for the bureau, which for the past several months has faced relentless criticism regarding political bias in its handling of investigations of both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The FBI's admission that it did not act on a tip that Cruz had a "desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts," could open up a new avenue of attack for political opponents seeking to discredit the bureau's work.

The work of Robert Mueller, the special counsel's office overseeing the investigation into Russian election interference, has been the focus of much of the attacks on the bureau. After the shooting, conservative news media said that the FBI could have prevented the attack if it had not been spending so much time looking into Russian election interference.

On Jan. 5, a tipster reached out to the FBI regarding Cruz and advised of "the potential of him conducting a school shooting," the agency said in a statement.

The tip on Cruz came in to the FBI's general call line, where call takers process thousands of calls each day, some of them more serious than others. When the process works, the call taker records information from the tipster, runs basic database checks on the person at issue and -- if the matter is serious enough -- passes a package to agents in the field.

In this case, though, the call center never passed any information to agents, according to a federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The bureau knew the identity of the caller -- an adult -- and the tip involved a threat to life, meaning it should have been passed on, a federal law enforcement official said. The official said the bureau is still exploring why it was not, and preliminarily, do not believe the number of calls was the reason that it fell through the cracks.

The agency 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."

"We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information," the FBI said. "The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time."

"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," Wray said in a statement. "We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy."

This is not the first time that the FBI has come under fire for being aware of a threat and failing to stop an attack. Congress criticized the bureau for failing to stop the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, where the shooter was known to the FBI. The FBI also knew of one of the brothers who carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing but did not stop that attack.

After those fumbles, FBI investigators compared themselves to hockey goalies, who are fielding a relentless barrage of pucks. Sometimes, they said, they cannot keep things from making the net.

"The public expects the FBI to keep them safe, and in the overwhelming majority of the instances, the FBI does just that," said Lauren Anderson, a former top FBI official in New York.

While Anderson described the missed warning as a "tragic failure," she also said that the past 18 months have been extremely difficult for the FBI and that people should still have confidence in the bureau.

The tip appears to have been the second time the FBI was alerted about Cruz. A bail bondsman in Mississippi told the agency last September about a worrying comment left on his YouTube channel from a "nikolas cruz" saying "Im going to be a professional school shooter."

Agents from the FBI's Jackson, Miss., field office looked into the comment but could not identify who had posted it from database and open-source searches, the FBI said. The FBI was also reviewing what happened after the agents received the information.

On Friday evening, Trump met with victims of the school shooting who were recovering at a Florida hospital and praised the "incredible" work of doctors, nurses and first responders who helped the victims.

Also Friday, mourners gathered for the first funeral for a shooting victim, packing the Star of David chapel to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff. From outside the chapel, other mourners strained to hear the voices chanting Jewish prayers and remembering the star soccer player as having "the strongest personality." She was also remembered as a creative writer with a memorable smile.

At a later funeral for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, her father's angered boiled over. With more than 1,000 mourners including Scott packed into Temple K'ol Tikvah, Andrew Pollack looked down at the plain pine coffin of his daughter and yelled, "You killed my kid!" referring to Cruz.

Authorities have not described any specific motive, except to say that Cruz had been kicked out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which has about 3,000 students and serves an affluent suburb where the median home price is nearly $600,000. Students who knew him described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships.

Information for this article was contributed by Katie Benner, Patricia Mazzei and Adam Goldman of The New York Times; by Kelli Kennedy, Curt Anderson, Tamara Lush and Sadie Gurman of The Associated Press; by Mark Berman, Matt Zapotosky, Renae Merle, Brian Murphy, Devlin Barrett, Emma Brown, David Nakamura, Julie Tate and William Wan of The Washington Post; and by Nafeesa Syeed of Bloomberg News.

Photo by AP/ANDREW HARNIK
Physician Igor Nichiporenko leads President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, on a visit to school shooting victims Friday at Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, Fla.

A Section on 02/17/2018

Print Headline: FBI did not act on tip in Florida

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  • abb
    February 17, 2018 at 6:12 a.m.

    BIG mistakes were made. LOTS of FBI guys need to be fired, from the person that took the call, to the guy in charge at that office and on up the chain of command....just to send a message. But this news doesn't matter because you communist leaning morons want to ban a scary looking modern sporting rifle.

  • RBear
    February 17, 2018 at 7:10 a.m.

    abb "big" mistakes? I think that's an overstatement by a right winger who has subscribed to the line from the right to distrust the FBI. Your comment and that of Gov. Scott is pretty disgusting to use such a tragedy to push a political agenda. Even if they had acted on the tip, tell me what they could have legally done, especially considering your comments about gun rights. Most likely, you would have criticized the FBI if they would have taken the gun, claiming it was violating Cruz's right to own a gun.
    ...
    Not sure if I even want to comment on the later part of your statement due to the absurd position you take. But let's at least get this out there. You probably didn't read any of the research I did on school shootings yesterday, so I'll catch you up in the crayon, summary version (probably all you could take in).
    ...
    Looking at school shootings around the world, the record in the US is pathetic. Whereas entire continents have maybe one or two every couple of years, the US averages around 10 school shootings a year. Along those same lines, the US has a one to one gun ownership ratio compared with other nations where the ratio of people to guns is like ... 30 to 1 in Israel or 30% in Germany. In fact, you can look at the gun homicide rate and find almost a direct correlation between gun ownership rates and the homicide rates.
    ...
    While the Second Amendment does grant the right of gun ownership to citizens, the Supreme Court also issued opinions that said that right should come with restrictions and requirements. That scary looking "sporting rifle" has been used in every single mass shooting in the past several years. There is no valid reason for you to have it, especially if it is a contributor in massacres in schools.
    ...
    The HS in Parkland, FL did everything they could to prevent an active shooter. They had an armed officer on site. They followed their active shooter training procedures. They issued a red alert as soon as they saw Cruz walk towards the campus. But none of that worked because Cruz was able to fire off so many rounds into classrooms before anything could happen. In fact, the entire attack lasted around 4 minutes from the time Cruz tripped the fire alarm to when he discarded his weapon.
    ...
    In those four minutes, he killed 17 students and injured about the same number. That's a victim every 8 seconds. So, a start to solving the problem that has made the US the deadliest place to attend school is to ban the AR-15 style rifle from public ownership. Another is to institute greater requirements and restrictions on gun ownership.
    ...
    Do more gun laws solve the problem? Apparently so if you look at the rest of the nations around the world. We stand out in a very bad way. We stand out in orders of magnitude. It's time to fix that problem and so far gun rights advocates have offered nothing as a solution other than more guns. Here's a hint. More guns doesn't solve the problem. It amplifies it.

  • DoubleBlind
    February 17, 2018 at 7:38 a.m.

    RB - Your “Even if they had acted on the tip, tell me what they could have legally done?” nails a big part of the problem. Just look at how many people who knew Cruz PREDICTED he would do this. Cops were called to his house 39 times. He had undergone psychiatric evaluation but stopped before a conclusion was reached. Law enforcement needs to be able to act in some way on this info. Cruz should never have been able to legally buy a gun based on the massive amount of data pointing to the likelihood of this very outcome.

  • RBear
    February 17, 2018 at 7:59 a.m.

    Exactly DB. In today's D-G, there is another article about that very subject and the limitations states have in being able to remove firearms from individuals who have been deemed to be risky with a court order. Currently, only five states have such laws but 18 others, including FL, are considering adding the laws. Arkansas is not and I don't think it will come up in the next session.
    ...
    However, it will be interesting to see how gun rights advocates square up against these laws. Personally, I think it's one of the restrictions they should accept for the right to gun ownership. Others would include a mental evaluation to look for signs of aggressive or dangerous behavior. That would have probably prevented Cruz from purchasing the AR-15. I would like for AR-15s to be banned, but absent an outright ban I think mental evaluations should be considered a necessary requirement to own such a weapon.

  • DoubleBlind
    February 17, 2018 at 8 a.m.

    Same with the LV shooter. It just shouldn’t be possible for someone to buy assault rifles, bump stocks, thousands of tracer rounds without it setting off alarms and scrutiny. Unless we’re going to outright ban the sale of these things, we need to use big data to track sales and to ensure law enforcement follow up with the ability to seize guns and ammo and detain buyers. Why would any civilian need tracers at all, let alone thousands of them.

  • BoudinMan
    February 17, 2018 at 8:34 a.m.

    The republican sages in Florida's legislature have come up with a novel idea on how to prevent gun violence in their schools: more guns! That's right, the Archie Bunker plan, more guns in the hands of more people. This is so not surprising at all. Your NRA campaign contributions at work.

  • TimberTopper
    February 17, 2018 at 8:40 a.m.

    abb, it appears either you were not aware of the times the local law had been to see this young man, or you find it easier to blame the FBI. I feel the local law should have done something and at least called in the FL state police, as this was first a local problem.

  • RRRRRRRRRR
    February 17, 2018 at 9:12 a.m.

    Same old right wing clap-trap. Blame anyone but Trump or gundamentalism.

  • GCW
    February 17, 2018 at 9:25 a.m.

    As long as we're throwing other people's rights under the bus let's go after Hollywood and Silicon Valley for pumping out ultra violent movies, TV and video games with no regard for it's effects on addled minds. Then let's go after ADG and all the other money hungry news media for publishing this pathetic guy's life story and plastering his face everywhere for others to copy cat.

    Any law you enact against me does absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem.

  • DoubleBlind
    February 17, 2018 at 9:34 a.m.

    ‘Gundamentalism’...too-shay, Derbi! Spot on...

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