On February 14th, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Jackson High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring 23 others. And now, new evidence suggests that the FBI might have been warned about the Florida school shooter’s plans via a comment on a YouTube video.
According to BuzzFeed News, a Mississippi vlogger named Ben Bennight noticed a suspicious comment on one of his videos in September 2017. A user named Nikolas Cruz had written, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” Bennight immediately emailed a screenshot of the comment to the Mississippi bureau of the FBI. He also flagged the comment, and it was later removed.
An unnamed law enforcement officer reportedly told CNN that Cruz had been reported to the FBI at least two times. Robert Lasky, an FBI special agent at the Miami bureau, verified that Bennight had reported the comment, but he added that the user’s identity was still unknown.
Lasky said that the FBI is examining the comment again, and Bennight said that an FBI agent contacted him about the comment on February 14th, after the shooting.
Cruz was expelled from the high school in 2017 for disciplinary reasons. Social media accounts in Cruz’s name reportedly featured frequent photos of his weapons and animals he had shot. The suspect used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to carry out the shooting; he reportedly pulled a fire alarm before the attack began, causing students and teachers to fill the school’s halls. Cruz was arrested shortly after the shooting and has been charged with 17 counts of murder.
The Florida school shooting was a horrible act of violence, and our hearts go out to everyone affected. The fight to end gun violence is long and grueling, but there are organizations you can donate to if you want to help. We’ll be watching for more updates about the Parkland shooting.