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The FBI admitted Friday that it had received a detailed warning from a tipster over a month ago that Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz might be planning such a massacre -- and that it failed to take any action.

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Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz during his first court appearance
(POOL/AFP/File / Susan STOCKER-SUN SENTINEL)

The FBI admitted Friday that it had received a detailed warning from a tipster over a month ago that Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz might be planning such a massacre -- and that it failed to take any action.

The stunning admission by the top US law enforcement agency came two days after Cruz, a 19-year-old with a long history of troubling behavior, killed 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida.

The acknowledgment also came amid growing anger among parents and students in the south Florida city over America's seeming unwillingness to toughen gun control laws.

The FBI said a "person close to Nikolas Cruz" made a call to the agency's public tipline on January 5 to "report concerns about him."

"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 said in a statement.

The information was not handled appropriately, however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, and no action was taken.

Cruz, who was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year for disciplinary reasons, went on a Valentine's Day rampage at the school on Wednesday using an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that he legally purchased a year ago.

The FBI said the information from the caller "should have been assessed as a potential threat to life" and forwarded to the agency's Miami field office.

Instead, "no further investigation was conducted at that time," it said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: "It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures."

- 'Deeply regret' -

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was "committed to getting to the bottom of what happened" and would be "reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public."

"We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy," Wray said.


By AFP
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