It has been more than a week since Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle to murder 17 people and injure another 15 individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz escaped undetected with other students who were fleeing the campus. Authorities reviewed footage from school security cameras and identified Cruz as the perpetrator. Within 90 minutes, Cruz was located and apprehended without incident in Coral Springs. Let’s review what’s happened since a judge ordered Cruz to be held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.
STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE FBI
Nikolas, who reportedly bragged about killing animals and was banned from bringing a backpack to school due to security concerns, was twice reported to the FBI for his alarming and menacing activity on social media. Equally disturbing, Cruz’s mother, Lynda, called the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to help control her son on a minimum of 39 occasions between 2010 and November 2016. In response to the public’s outcry, the federal law enforcement agency issued a statement regarding its handling of Cruz.
“On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tip line to report concerns about him,” read the statement.
“The caller provided information 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. Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken. We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”
Rick Scott, the Republican governor of Florida who assumed office on January 4, 2011, admonished the bureau’s systematic failure and demanded that its director, Christopher A. Wray, resign immediately.
“The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,” said Scott, who was born in Bloomington, Illinois.
“We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow-through from law enforcement. The FBI director needs to resign.”
To date, Wray has refused to step down from his position.
NATIONWIDE RALLIES HELD DEMANDING STRICTER GUN-CONTROL LAWS
As part of nationwide rallies, student activists have assembled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and at the state’s Capitol in Tallahassee. Moreover, President Trump conducted a meeting at the White House on Wednesday with students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Trump said he is considering a proposal that will allow trained school employees to carry firearms for protection. A national school walkout is scheduled to occur on Friday, April 20. This date was chosen because it marks the 19th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
“On Friday, April 20th we want students to attend school and then promptly WALK-OUT at 10:00 am. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. We are students, we are victims, we are change,” tweeted walkout organizers.
CRUZ’S YOUNGER BROTHER
Lynda and Roger Cruz also adopted Nikolas’ younger brother, Zachary. For undisclosed reasons, the 17-year-old Zachary was involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility last weekend. Zachary’s current status has not been reported.
Cruz, who fully confessed his crimes to authorities, will plead guilty in an effort to avoid receiving a death sentence, according to attorney Howard Finkelstein. However, despite Cruz’s admission of guilt, Florida prosecutors may still seek capital punishment.
* Governor Scott did not respond to interview requests for this story