As more details surface from Wednesday’s deadly attack on a Parkland, Florida high school, the 19-year-old accused shooter fits into a familiar narrative: Lone wolf. Depressed. Troubled.
But aside from being anti-social, there were a number of signs that posed Nikolas Cruz as a serious threat. In a new statement just released by the FBI, a source close to Cruz had called the FBI’s tipline about Cruz's potential to carry out a school shooting, including his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts [...]”
The statement also said that established FBI protocols were not followed.
Other sources show that a threatening comment was posted onto YouTube by the username “Nikolas Cruz” in September. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” it said. Cruz's violent behavior towards animals was also reported by neighbors, including shooting chickens with BB guns, poking sticks down rabbit holes and killing squirrels.
When reporting a potentially violent person to authorities, how should law enforcement respond? What are the protocols when receiving numerous complaints that include both true risks and false alarms?
Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to law enforcement professionals; former Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Division at the FBI (2012-2014)
Eugene O’Donnell, professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; former NYPD officer and former prosecutor in Kings County, New York
Alex Yufik, Psy.D., board certified forensic psychologist and licensed attorney; in his private practice, he sees patients and conducts forensic evaluations in criminal and civil cases