WASHINGTON—Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich said on Feb. 22 that his agency made a mistake in handling a tip it received on the Parkland high school shooter.
The FBI had received a call about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz just weeks before he carried out a mass shooting at a high school that killed 17.
“Let me be clear, there was a mistake made,” Bowdich said at the Justice Department.
Bowdich said that all nationwide tip calls are funneled through the FBI’s center in West Virginia, where they are vetted and then sent to field offices around the country.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the FBI’s handling of the tip after the mass shooting.
According to Bowdich, the FBI received 765,000 calls with tips last year and 750,000 tips through the internet. Less than one out of every ten turned into a lead.
“It is not easy work. I am not making excuses, because what happened was a tragedy, truly a tragedy,” said Bowdich.
The ignored tip on Cruz that the FBI received on Jan. 5 said that he had a “desire to kill people” as well as “erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts.”
In response to the shooting, President Donald Trump said he would push for comprehensive background checks, with an emphasis on mental health, and an increase of the age requirement to purchase certain guns.
Earlier this week Trump ordered Sessions to craft legislation banning so-called bump stocks. The add-on devices for semi-automatic rifles received nationwide attention following a mass shooting in Las Vegas in October last year.
The device makes it possible for semi-automatic weapons to fire in a similar fashion to automatic weapons, which are illegal in the United States.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.