Multiple national news outlets have reported that the FBI knew about a school shooting threat from a YouTube user who had the same name as the gunman accused of opening fire on a Florida high school Wednesday afternoon.
YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight said he spoke with the FBI in September 2017 after he noticed an alarming comment on one of his videos, according to CNN.
The report first appeared on BuzzFeed News.
The commenter, named Nikolas Cruz, wrote: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter," according to CNN.
A 19-year-old former student named Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday. He was moved to jail on Thursday morning on charges of premeditated murder, USA Today reported.
Back in September, Bennight emailed the FBI a screenshot of the YouTube comment. They contacted him immediately, according to CNN.
"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 FBI contacted Bennight again after Wednesday's mass shooting, according to CNN.
The FBI did not say whether or not the YouTube commenter and Wednesday’s shooter were the same person, CNN reported.
However, the FBI contacted Bennight again and asked whether or not he knew who Cruz was. Bennight said he didn’t, CNN reported.
"No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment," Robert Lasky, special agent in charge of the FBI Miami Division, said at a news conference, according to ABC News.
Cruz was expelled from the school last year for fighting and was known for posting “menacing social media posts,” according to USA Today.
Former classmates said they weren’t surprised Cruz was suspected of the shooting since he loved showing off his weapons, according to student Eddie Bonilla, who spoke with CNN affiliate WFOR.
"We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around like that, saying that he's the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It's crazy," Bonilla recalled.
Student Alex Azar told WFOR that Cruz always appeared “unstable.”12 comments on this story
“He always seemed like the unstable type, the type who would do this sort of thing,” Azar remembers. “He was always in the office. He was always in trouble, very unstable. He had that look to him, kind of sinister.”
The school’s superintendent, Robert Runcie, said immediately after the shooting that he and his staff had no warning.
“It’s a day that you pray, every day when you get up, that you will never have to see. It is in front of us. I ask the community for prayers and their support for the children and their families,” Runcie said, according to The Miami Herald. “Potentially there could have been signs out there. But we didn’t have any warning or phone calls or threats that were made.”