FBI details series of mistakes in handling tips that warned about Parkland gunman

Deputy director lays out steps to prevent future tip line failures

Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich

WASHINGTON – The FBI has detailed a series of mistakes that the agency made in its handling of tips that warned about about Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman Nikolas Cruz in the months before the shooting. 

During a briefing on the case Tuesday, Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich told the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees that corrective actions were being taken.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, released new details about what went wrong, including:

  • A woman who gave the FBI a detailed warning about Cruz in January said she spoke to a supervisor in addition the call-taker, but the conversation was not documented.
  • The congressmen said the call-taker failed to ask "investigative probing questions" during the call.
  • The person who would spoke with the woman was aware of an earlier report to the FBI about Cruz. In September 2016, a man told the FBI that a YouTube user named "Nickolas Cruz" had written, "I am going to be a professional school shooter" as an online comment. The call taker and the supervisor did not pursue the tip despite the information.

Bowdich said the FBI is still reviewing how the agency handled the tip, but he told the congressmen that the agency has already taken some steps to prevent this from happening again.

He said the FBI has recommended stronger oversight and better training for tip line employees. The FBI said it would also institute better documentation of tip line calls.

It is also reviewing laws to see how information sharing between law enforcement agencies can be improved.