A Mississippi man notified the FBI in September that a user named Nikolas Cruz left a comment on his YouTube channel saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Ben Bennight, 36, reported the comment to the FBI via email on Sept. 24 and flagged it on YouTube, which removed the comment.
Bennight’s email to the FBI’s tip box bounced, with an error message saying that the email address does not exist. He then followed up by calling the FBI tips phone line.
FBI agents responded to the call and visited Bennight the day after, on Sept. 25.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
“The screen name, it wasn’t a generic screen name. The screen name was Nikolas Cruz,” Bennight said on YouTube. “Which is the name of the guy that did the shooting.”
The FBI contacted Bennight again on Feb. 14 after Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Bennight received a call from a Mississippi FBI field office and then received another call from an FBI agent in Miami.
Later in the day, agents from the Mississippi field office visited Bennight and questioned him about Cruz.
According to BuzzFeed News, relatives, classmates, and neighbors described Cruz as a loner who often spoke about guns. Cruz was expelled from the school for disciplinary issues.
Jim Gard, a math teacher at the school, told Miami Herald that Cruz was flagged as a potential threat to other students.
The FBI is yet to confirm if the Nikolas Cruz username on YouTube belongs to the suspected shooter.
The Nikolas Cruz account was still active on YouTube until Wednesday evening. YouTube has since deleted it because of “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on violence.”