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Florida shooting suspect charged amid questions over warning signs

Thursday - 15/02/2018 08:22
Nikolas Cruz charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder over shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland

Questions have emerged over whether law enforcement officials and local authorities failed to act on warning signals about the teenage gunman who killed 17 people in a Florida high school with an AR-15 assault rifle on Wednesday.

Former classmates of the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday, described him as “weird” and “a loner”, and said “everyone predicted” he would “do something”. Last year he was expelled from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland for disciplinary reasons.

A comment left on a YouTube video by a user named Nikolas Cruz warning “I’m going to be a professional school shooter” was also flagged to law enforcement officials last September and subsequently removed by YouTube.

A photo of Nikolas Cruz supplied to the journalist Josh Cohen by a member of law enforcement.
FacebookTwitterPinterest  A photo of Nikolas Cruz supplied to the journalist Josh Cohen by a member of law enforcement. Photograph: @JoshCohenRadio
 

Ben Bennight, who posted the video and alerted the FBI, told Buzzfeed News that officers had followed up “immediately”, asking him if he knew anything about the user who had left the comment and taking a copy of his screenshot.

While the FBI has not confirmed the account belonged to the alleged gunman, FBI agents interviewed Bennight again after the shooting, wanting to know if he knew anything about the user who had left the comment.

The Nikolas Cruz YouTube account was taken down on Wednesday night. The Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, who identified the shooter as Cruz, said police had found “very disturbing” material when searching his social media.

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