FBI previously warned about school shooting threat made on YouTube comment

No other information indicating 'true identity' included with comment, FBI says

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Headline Goes Here

PARKLAND, Fla. - A YouTube vlogger from Mississippi had warned the FBI in September about a school shooting threat made in the comment section of one of his videos by a user named Nikolas Cruz, Buzzfeed reported Thursday.

Ben Bennight, 36, posted a YouTube video Wednesday saying that the FBI contacted him again following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left at least 17 people dead.

Robert Lasky, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Division, confirmed Thursday that the FBI received information last year about a school threat made on a YouTube comment.

"The comment simply said, 'I'm going to be a professional school shooter,'" Lasky said. "No other information was included with that comment, which would indicate a time, location or true identity of the person who made that comment."

Lasky said the FBI was unable to identify who made the remark.

Bennight, a bail bondsman, said FBI agents interviewed him on Sept. 25, 2017, a day after he sent them a screenshot of a comment on his video that said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." The comment was made by a YouTube user by the name of Nikolas Cruz.

Bennight said he also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed the comment from the video.

Bennight told Buzzfeed that the agents asked him if he knew Cruz, but he did not. 

Bennight said he hadn't heard back from the FBI since then until agents went to his home Wednesday following the school shooting.

He said he doesn't remember which video Cruz made the comment, and authorities have not confirmed whether the person who made the comment is the same Nikolas Cruz accused in the Parkland school shooting.

"You know, people leave pretty heinous comments on a pretty regular basis on this channel and I really didn't think anything of it, but what I did think was, you know, this comment said, 'I am going to be a professional school shooter,' and I knew that I couldn't just ignore that," Bennight said in his video posted Wednesday. 

Former classmates of the accused school shooter described Cruz as a "strange kid" who would make concerning comments, such as that he wanted to join the military "so he could kill people."

One student said Cruz had killed small animals, like frogs, and posted photos of the dead animals on social media.

Another student said Cruz had been banned from carrying a backpack at the school before he was expelled and would carry his belongings in a plastic bag. 

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.