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Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich on Wednesday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the bureau made mistakes in its handling of two tips it received about the person accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school last month.
“We made mistakes here. No question about that,” Bowdich told the committee during a hearing on school safety.
“That said even had we done everything right I’m not sure we could have stopped this act, but it would have been nice to try. It sure would have been nice for our investigator to sit down in front of Mr. Cruz and actually have that discussion.”
Bowdich said in written testimony to the committee that the FBI received an email tip on Sept. 25 that someone writing under the same name as the accused shooter had left a comment on a video saying, “Im going to be a professional school shooter.”
A person close to the accused shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, then called the FBI’s public tipline on Jan. 5 warning them of his gun ownership and concerns of a possible school shooting.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa) asked Bowdich if the FBI reached out to local law enforcement to give them a warning about Cruz.
Bowdich said they did not.
“I don’t know why the call taker did not do so,” he said. “She conferred with her supervisor and made some sort of a presentation about what was contained in that call. There was discussion about the fact that the local department had been notified. You’re absolutely correct, senator, that the call was very explicit; however, they made a decision to close it. No lead value and no call was made to the local jurisdiction.”
The February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 dead and numerous others injured.
Bowdich told the committee later that the FBI inspection team is looking carefully at the performance metrics in place for call takers.
“Part of that was the speed at which they were taking their calls and then how long it would take them to do their follow-up after they took the call,” he said. “And that follow-up could be database checks, scrubs of additional tips they found, so we’re not so sure we didn’t potentially drive some behavior there that’s not so good in a case like this.”
Updated at 11:37 a.m.