The Federal Bureau of investigation received a tip concerning Nikolas Cruz's "desire to kill people" in January, but because protocols were not followed, nothing ever came out of the report.
A person close to Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect in the Florida school shooting that killed at least 17 people and injured many more, reportedly filed a complaint with the FBI, expressing concern that Cruz might hurt people.
According to a statement Friday from the FBI, the caller provided information about "Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting."
The FBI conceded that due to "established protocols," the caller's information "should have been assessed as a potential threat to life," and passed along to the FBI Miami Field Office for investigation and possible intervention.
"We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the [FBI's Public Access Line] on January 5," a portion of the statement read. "This information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at the time."
The statement went on to cite comment from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said, "We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.
"We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it."
Is this the first time a government entity could have potentially prevented a mass shooting?
This is actually the second time in the last several months where a government agency could have directly intervened in possibly preventing a mass shooting.
Devin Patrick Kelley, the suspect in November's deadly Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting, by all accounts should not have had access to the guns he owned. But as a result of a clerical error made by the Air Force, he successfully passed a background check.
Kelley, who was discharged from the U.S. Air Force, was convicted in 2012 on charges of domestic assault against his then-wife and her young son.
As a result of that conviction, he, by law, should not have the right to purchase guns.
The U.S. Air Force, however, neglected to report the conviction on a national database.
The massacre at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church took the lives of over two dozen parishioners. Many among the dead were young children.
Why was a lawsuit filed?
The cities of Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New York City in December filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense for failing to report service members' convictions to the national database.
According to a report published by The Hill, the lawsuit asks the Department of Defense to "fulfill their long-standing legal obligation to report all service members disqualified from purchasing and possessing firearms to the FBI’s national background check system."
The Independent reported that Ken Taber, one of the case's lead attorneys, said he believed that the military failed to report "hundreds, if not thousands" of convictions to the database in recent years.
"It’s impossible to know how many instances of gun violence are tied to individuals who got guns but shouldn’t have," Taber said. "But the fact is, we know that there are large numbers of people who are disqualified from having guns by virtue of military convictions but are not in that database."