How the FBI Failed to Track Down Florida Shooter After YouTube Threat Using His Real Name

Nikolas Cruz posted a YouTube comment five months ago and the FBI was reportedly alerted about it, but agents at the bureau were unable to find him, even though Cruz used his actual name to make the threats.

The message YouTube user “nikolas cruz” posted was “Im going to be a professional school shooter.” Cruz made the threat on Ben Bennight’s video, whom is a Mississippis bail bondsman.

Concerned by the comment, Bennight contacted the FBI immediately. Just a day later Bennight was being interviewed face-to-face with the FBI. However, Cruz was never questioned as bureau agents weren’t able to identify him; despite the fact his full name was used in the post.

After the recent shooting Bennight stated, “Out of all the people in the country, why me? Why my channel?”

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He added, “I hope people learn that when somebody throws up red flags, that they need to pay more attention to them and not just … scoff ’em off.”

Bennight made a video to show what his interaction was with the FBI agents on his case:

Special Agent Robert Lasky, who is in charge of the FBI’s Miami division, gave a public statement on the bureau’s inability to follow up on Cruz, “No other information was included with that comment, which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made that comment.”

Lasky continued, “The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.”

Via Breitbart: FOX 61 has reported other comments from what appears to be the same account include similarly violent threats on videos across the website. Some of the comments include “I whana shoot people with my AR-15” (sic) and “I wanna die Fighting killing sh** ton of people.” It would seem that the comments were posted by the same account reported by Bennight, or at least an account with the exact same name as the one the FBI was made aware of.

In other cases involving threats on the Internet, the FBI took part in active investigations including discovering the users behind anonymous accounts. For example, the FBI has released their records on their investigation of #GamerGate, a consumer revolt against left-wing authoritarian politics in gaming that included alleged internet threats from both sides.

However, a quick search of social media would have uncovered the Instagram account of Nikolaz Cruz, where he brandishes a gun and wears a mask, the same Cruz who had been expelled from school for disciplinary reasons. Within approximately one hour of the shooting, users across 4Chan and Reddit had found Cruz’s social media accounts including multiple personal details. If reports are accurate, it seems that the FBI was unable to investigate Cruz as thoroughly as random users on an Internet forum.

One of Cruz’s classmates, Eddie Bonilla, said Cruz “threatened to bring the guns to school multiple times.” According to Bonilla, students “threw jokes around that he’d be the one to shoot up the school.”

Law enforcement officials have heard chatter of “copycat threats made today at other schools,” Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, stated. One South Carolina man posted a photo on Snapchat with a rifle saying “Round 2 of Florida tomorrow,” and was immediately arrested.

 

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