PARKLAND, FL — FBI officials were warned in advance of a deadly school shooting that took place on Thursday and were made aware of the shooter’s identity according to a witness who says he spoke with the FBI prior to the event.
According to 36-year-old YouTuber Ben Bennight, 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz left a comment on one of his videos stating “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
“I am going to what he did,” Cruz allegedly promised in a September 24 comment on a video about the 1966 Texas University massacre.
Alarmed by the statement, Bennight took a screenshot of Cruz’s comment and notified both YouTube and the FBI.
“This comment said ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter” and I knew that I couldn’t just ignore that,” he said.
Bennight says the FBI took the threat seriously enough to meet with him the following day.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed (https://tinyurl.com/yc59zkmy). “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
Bennight says he was contacted again by agents from both the Missisippi and Miami FBI field offices after Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17.
“I would like to think that they were already investigating this guy and they had him on the top of their radar and that’s how they ended up contacting me so quickly,” Bennight said.
Cruz, who had a history of discipline problems which resulted in his being expelled from the school, was taken into custody shortly after the deadly rampage.
In a statement, a lawyer for the family Cruz had been staying with since the death of his mother said he had purchased his gun legally.
Cruz’s social media posts just prior to the killings seem to indicate an obsession with weapons and the killing of animals.
Despite the alert to the FBI, local police officials say they received no notice about Cruz’s threats.
Superintendent Robert Runcie told reporters: “We received no warnings.”