The FBI is under pressure after failing to act on a tip that Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz might carry out an attack.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the FBI’s director must resign, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review, lamenting FBI “failures”.
Some of those close to the 17 victims of February 14 shooting also voiced dismay at the FBI’s actions.
On February 16, President Donald Trump met survivors of the attack in Parkland.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited a hospital and later the local sheriff’s office, thanking them for their response to the tragedy.
“What a great job you’ve done,” the president told law enforcement officials, adding: “I hope you get credit for it because believe me, you deserve it.”
Suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, has confessed to carrying out February14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and has been charged with 17 counts of murder.
It was the deadliest school shooting since 2012 and has re-ignited debates about gun control, with many students from the school weighing in.
It comes after the FBI admitted it did not properly follow up on a warning about Nikolas Cruz.
On January 5, a person close to the suspect contacted the FBI tipline to provide “information about Nikolas 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”, an FBI statement said.
The FBI said that information should have been assessed as a potential threat to life and passed on to the Miami field office but that “we have determined these protocols were not followed”.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau was “still investigating the facts” and was committed to “getting to the bottom of what happened”.
He added: “We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.”
The January 5 tip was not the only information the FBI received about Nikolas Cruz.
In September, a Mississippi man reported to the law enforcement agency a disturbing comment left on a YouTube video by a user called “nikolas cruz” which said: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Ben Bennight said he spoke to FBI representatives for about 20 minutes and that they contacted him again following the Parkland shooting.
On February 15, the FBI said they had conducted “checks” at the time, but were unable to identify the person behind the comment.
Questions are also being asked about how local police responded to concern about Nikolas Cruz.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said his office had received 20 “calls for service” about him.
Each one would be scrutinized, he said, without going into detail about the nature of the calls.
Governor Rick Scott said in a statement that “the FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable”.
He said that an apology would never give families “the answers they desperately need” and said that Christopher Wray had to resign.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the FBI’s “failures” had led to “tragic consequences”, and announced a review at the justice department and FBI into how “indications of potential violence” are responded to.