- A Broward County Sheriff’s deputy was at Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting, but did not enter the school.
- State and local authorities were made aware multiple times the Parkland shooter was a threat to public safety.
- The FBI was notified of the shooter’s dangerous behavior, but did not follow-up.
Federal, state and local government agencies repeatedly missed opportunities to prevent school shooter Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last week.
The repeated failures of government officials to do their job are a crucial point of context as liberals and media members clamor for further gun laws in the wake of last week’s horrific shooting.
Sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson, who was on duty at the school when Cruz started shooting, “never went in” to confront the shooter, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said on Thursday. Peterson, who resigned on Thursday, could hear gunfire from coming inside the building but stayed outside the building, even as heroic students and faculty members died saving students from the hail of bullets.
Peterson’s failure is just the latest instance of government employees failing to stop the shooter from carrying out his deadly rampage.
The sheriff’s office failed in other ways as well. “In November, a tipster called BSO to say Cruz ‘could be a school shooter in the making’ but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. It came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons,” the Miami Herald reported on Thursday.
Sheriff Israel’s department has faced scrutiny for never committing Cruz to a mental health facility under the Baker Act, which allows the state to involuntarily commit individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. People committed under the Baker Act are legally barred from obtaining firearms.
The sheriff’s department declined to commit Cruz under the Baker Act, even after Cruz repeatedly assaulted family members and classmates, the police were repeatedly called to Cruz’s house and the teen’s guardian told police that the Cruz had “bought tons of ammo,” “used a gun against (people) before” and “put the gun to others’ heads in the past.”
At a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, Israel dodged questions about his department’s failure to use the Baker Act against the violent, troubled teen and instead played to the crowd of students by calling for further gun control.
Another government agency, the Florida Department of Children and Families, investigated Cruz after they were alerted to videos of him cutting himself. The social services investigators declined to commit Cruz under the Baker Act, ruling him to be not a threat to himself or others, even as they were aware that he planned to purchase a gun for unknown purposes.
It’s not just state and local agencies who failed to intervene. The FBI, too, dropped the ball — as FBI Director Chris Wray admitted last week.
The FBI was warned twice about Cruz.
The first warning came after the teen commented on YouTube, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” posting the dark prediction under his own name.
The second warning came when someone close to Cruz called the FBI tip line to warn them that Cruz had expressed a desire to kill people and was a potential school shooter. “The caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” Wray said in a statement.
“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken,” Wray said.
“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”