UPDATED 2/15/18, 10:49 a.m. ET: Adding to the tragedy of the Parkland, Florida school shooting Wednesday, it appears as though the FBI were informed of shooter Nikolas Cruz’s violent tendencies since September of last year. The 19-year-old has now been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
As BuzzFeed reports, Mississippi bail bondsman and avid YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight, 36, had flagged a comment Cruz allegedly left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” Cruz wrote. Bennight alerted the FBI, providing a screenshot of the comment. He also notified YouTube, which removed the comment from the video. Currently, FBI officials will not confirm if the account that posted the comment belongs to Cruz, but his name does match that of the YouTube user Bennight flagged last fall.
Bennight says agents with the bureau’s Mississippi filed office responded “immediately,” and interviewed him in-person on the following day, Sept. 25. He told BuzzFeed, “They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person.” Bennight told the agents that he did not, and says “They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.” The FBI did contact Bennight again on Wednesday, after Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, taking at least 17 lives.
Jim Lewis, the attorney representing the family who had taken in Cruz says they were completely unaware that he was planning anything. Cruz moved in with the family after his mother passed away in November. Lewis says the 19-year-old had an AR-15 rifle, which he legally purchased, in the home. “The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house, but he had a key,” said Lewis.
UPDATED 2/14/18, 6:41 p.m. ET: The Broward Sheriff's Office stated on Twitter that 17 people have died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. ABC News notes that this the 18th school shooting within the year's first 45 days. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz, is also currently in police custody. Sheriff said that Cruz had an AR-15 rifle weapon with multiple magazines in his possession.
"I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives."- Sheriff Scott Israel #stonemanshooting— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
Suspect Nikolaus Cruz, 19, is in custody. #stonemandouglasshooting— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
Original story is below.
Not even two months into the year, and this is the fourth school shooting on which I regret to be reporting. At the time of publication, there is still an active shooter situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As per footage from the scene, multiple ambulances and police vehicles have responded, and a SWAT team appears to have entered the building. The suspected shooter appears to be in custody.
Multiple victims appear to have been loaded into ambulances. Some students are being evacuated while others appear to be running from the scene. The Broward County Sheriff has cautioned people to stay away from the area via his Twitter account.
#BSO is working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland. Here's what we know so far: deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. There are reports of victims. PIO will be on scene 3:15pm.— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
Avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS. #BSO is currently working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter.— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 14, 2018
AVOID THE AREA - Do not attempt to get to the school this perimeter is LOCKED down. https://t.co/sNtQqZYojL— Coral Springs Police (@CoralSpringsPD) February 14, 2018
Students/Teachers #Douglas High School Remain barricaded inside until police reach you.— Coral Springs Police (@CoralSpringsPD) February 14, 2018
The Broward County Sheriff's Office announced that although the school was still an active crime scene, the suspected shooter was in custody as of around 4:15 p.m. ET.
The shooter has been identified as expelled student, 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz. He allegedly threatened students at the school last year.