ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - The FBI is still working to determine how investigators missed a critical tip that, some fear, might have helped prevent the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.
Friday, the FBI acknowledged that the agency did not properly follow protocol when it received a tip from someone close to Nikolas Cruz.
According to a statement from the FBI, the person called the FBI to report Cruz as someone who had a desire to kill people, owned a gun, had erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts and the potential to conduct a school shooting.
Somehow, the tip never got forwarded to the Miami Field Office for further investigation.
Nearly six weeks later, Cruz opened fire.
Florida Governor Rick Scott released a statement of his own calling in part for the resignation of the FBI director.
Scott issued a statement saying, “We constantly promote "See Something, Say Something," and a courageous person did just that to the FBI and the FBI failed to act… people must have confidence in follow through from law enforcement.”
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara is among the many people who will be following the results of the FBI’s internal review.
“The FBI needs to take a step back and look at their policies and procedures and see where this tip fell through the cracks because as a result, 17 lives were lost,” Mascara said.
Local law enforcement leaders do not want the community to lose faith in the ‘See Something, Say Something’ efforts, and overall success.
“As soon as you lose that trust and confidence between the citizens and us, those tips are going to be non-existent,” Mascara said.
Mascara says every tip that comes to their department is reviewed and taken seriously.
“Most people realize when they call their local authorities, it’s a little bit different than when they call the federal government. Our attachment to our community is much closer than the FBI,” Mascara said.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder agreed his agency gives special attention to every tip.
"It’s up to us as the receivers of the information to do everything we can to validate their confidence, to document, to investigate and to follow up...We actually will create a case file on every one of the see something say something leads.”
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office cited how ‘see something say something’ tips were recently investigated, and led to an arrest of a teenager in South Carolina who posted a shooting threat to social media.
On Facebook, PBSO posted "Thank you to all of the concerned citizens that made us aware of this post that was circulating social media. PBSO has looked into this post and learned that this juvenile resided out of state. We made contact with Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and an arrest was made. You Saw Something and Said Something, THANK YOU.”
Mascara and Snyder both hope a lesson is learned by the FBI and policies are reviewed. Snyder also hopes people will maintain their faith in the system.
“If people out there had any idea about how many bad outcomes are avoided because they sent us a tip, they would not be discouraged.”