FBI agents were warned about Nikolas Cruz’s plans to become a “professional school shooter” months ago, according to a YouTube vlogger who noticed a sick comment on one of his videos.
Ben Bennight, a bail bondsman in Mississippi who goes by the name Ben the Bondsman, said that he received a terrifying comment from a user called Nikolas Cruz under a video in September.
“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 said that he flagged the comment to YouTube and also sent a screenshot to the FBI, who visited him briefly in September and asked him whether he knew the poster.
The blogger said that he was contacted again by agents from both the Missisippi and Miami field offices after Cruz took an AR-15 into his Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Cruz, who had a history of discipline problems that got him kicked out of the school, killed at least 17 people in a rampage that also used smoke grenades.
He was arrested in a nearby neighborhood after sneaking out of the school in a crowd of students, according to the local sheriff’s office.
A lawyer for the family Cruz was staying with after the death of his adoptive mother said that he had purchased his gun legally, despite worries about his mental health, a social media obsession with weapons and posts about killing animals.
“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’s YouTube account was deleted as of late Wednesday.
It remains unclear just how much attention federal or local investigators paid to Cruz after the comment found by Bennight, first reported by Buzzfeed early Thursday.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, from the Miami area, posted on Twitter that he met with federal authorities and that it was “clear attack was designed & executed to maximize loss of life.”
Rubio, who is a consistent supporter who voted against a 2015 measure to stop gun sales to those on the terrorist watch list, said that “in days ahead will become increasingly evident that killer in todays #FloridaSchoolShooting gave plenty of indications of what was to come.”
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