President Donald Trump is blasting the FBI for its failures to follow up on the tip about Nikolas Cruz. Cruz went on to take the lives of some 17 students and teachers on Valentine’s Day. He suggested the FBI was “spending too much time” on the fictional witchhunt for Russian collusion into the 2016 presidential election and not effectively doing their jobs to the best of their ability.
President Trump took to social media on the evening of February 17, 2018, with a no holds barred blasting of the FBI and what he considers their extreme failure in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre, tweeting –
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
The FBI themselves along with FBI director Christopher Wray made statements acknowledging the failure of the agency to address and to act on tips provided to them regarding Cruz prior to his bloody rampage through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Bureau acknowledged many failures on their part and promised a swift and factual investigation into where and why the failure occurred.
The FBI has revealed it received at least two separate tips about Cruz. The first tip came approximately five months ago. However, the FBI said agents were unable to link the tip to Cruz at the time. In the second tip, made six weeks ago, the bureau admitted protocol was not followed and the information was never investigated.
The FBI’s official statement to the public in the wake of the events in Parkland that devastated so many families reads –
On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. 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.
In a separate statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated –
“We are still investigating the facts. 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. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it.”
Now the scene where 17 students and teachers’ lives were snuffed out too soon is being scheduled for demolition. Local authorities in Parkland, Florida are to demolish Building 12 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the Valentine’s Day massacre that took so much from so many.
Florida lawmakers want to raze the building to eradicate the memory of shooter. Instead, they wish to erect a memorial that will honor victims and their families.
Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton spoke on Friday after visiting the school just one day prior the horror of the scene and how the devastation was just palpable. He stated – “This building has to come down. Everything was strewn across the halls from people running and dodging and there were significant blood splatters on the wall, like someone took a milk jug and exploded it.”
Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, echoed that sentiment, stating – “These kids are not going to go back into that building ever again.“As did Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, when he stated – “We need to take a serious look at tearing down that building and build a facility that these kids could return to and be proud of. Early estimates indicate the cost of a replacement building is between $25 million and $30 million. It will still be very difficult for students to return. But that particular building should be razed, and the memory of the perpetrator erased and a memorial honoring the victims and their families be put in its place.”
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie spoke on Friday afternoon in agreement in his belief that the building serving some 900 students would not be reopened, proposing – “Parents and students have told me very clearly they’re not going to go back into that building and I believe they’re right. In an ideal world, there would be sufficient funding to do a replacement building at a different site on the campus and then erect a memorial on that location.”
Early estimates indicate the cost of a replacement building is somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million and $30 million. Runcie later confirmed that while the demolition is not a “done deal,” he does support the request that has been made by “students, parents, and members of the community.” The Sun-Sentinal reports – “The proposal would need School Board and state approval, as well as funding, Runcie said. He said he plans to talk with legislative leaders about possible funding for a replacement building. The building was constructed in 2009, and a state waiver would be needed to demolish a facility that new.”
In the meantime, the school district is working on a reviewing its current plan for students to return to school with a decision anticipated within the next 24-40 hours. It is tentatively being proposed that teachers will return first in order to allow them an additional day to prepare for the return of the student body.