By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The FBI acknowledged Friday it fumbled a tip about the gunman accused of killing 17 people in a Florida high school.
The bureau said in a rare statement it was contacted Jan. 5 by a person close to Nikolas Cruz with information about his "gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”
That information should have been evaluated as a threat to life, the bureau said, and then forwarded to the Miami field office for investigation.
That protocol was not followed and no investigation was conducted, the bureau acknowledged.
An internal investigation into the events is underway, Director Christopher Wray said.
"I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public," he said.
"We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it,” he added.
Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
After opening fire in five classrooms, Cruz left his rifle and backpack and escaped alongside fleeing students. He went to a nearby Walmart and purchased a drink at a Subway restaurant before walking to a McDonald's, police said.
He was apprehended without incident about 40 minutes later.