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Pressure is mounting on the FBI director to resign after his agency admitted it failed to investigate a warning that the man accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school possessed a gun and the desire to kill.
The disclosure spread angry disbelief among residents of the Miami suburb of Parkland where Wednesday’s massacre unfolded, and led Florida’s governor Rick Scott to call for FBI chief Christopher Wray to resign.
“The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,” Scott, a Republican, said in a statement. “We constantly promote ‘See something, say something’, and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.”
Scott’s comments came after the FBI said in a statement that a person described as someone close to accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, called an FBI tip line on January 5, weeks before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, to report concerns about him. “The caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” it said.
That information should have been forwarded to the FBI’s Miami field office for further investigation, but “we have determined that these protocols were not followed,” it said.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has ordered a review of FBI procedures following the shooting, carried out by a gunman armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and numerous ammunition cartridges. “We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” Wray said in a statement.
The FBI has also separately been criticised by some Republicans over its investigation of allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, heaping further scrutiny on the agency led by Wray since President Donald Trump fired James Comey last year.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told a news conference his office had received about 20 “calls for service” in the last few years regarding Cruz and would scrutinise all of them to see if they were handled properly.
But Israel said law enforcement should not be held responsible for Wednesday’s tragedy. “The only one to blame for this killing is the killer himself,” he said.