By all accounts, Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect believed to be the shooter behind yesterday's massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, was "troubled." But as CNN's Jake Tapper pointed out, he somehow managed to fly under the radar enough to commit a mass shooting, murdering 17 people at his former high school.
Cruz's public defenders, correspondent Kyung Lah noted, "describe him as 'a broken child who fell through every single crack.'"
Cruz has alleged ties to a white nationalist militia and made racist and threatening posts under his own name, at one point saying he wanted to become a "professional school shooter." The FBI was alerted to the posts and interviewed him shortly after, but the agent in charge of the case said yesterday that his name did not come up in their databases — despite posting them under his own name.
"Let's be honest here," Tapper said. "He posted that on YouTube under his own name with the unusual spelling of Nikolas with a "k," and if there had been a real thorough investigation, there was a whole bounty of information indicating that this guy had problems."
"This is a nightmare scenario for law enforcement," former FBI special agent Josh Campbell said, "for an agency to realize that they have information in their holding that may have saved lives."
The deadly results of Cruz managing to acquire his AR-15 assault rifle and carry out the deadly shooting despite the bureau being aware of threats he'd made proves just how disorganized the reporting systems between local, state and national agencies can be, the former FBI agent said.
"This shows there is a lack of fusing information in this country between law enforcement, mental health providers, those who are, you know, working in the schools, family members and the like," Campbell said. "That's something that we really have to work on."
Tapper then asked former Chicago police officer Dimitri Roberts if Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could have done any more to report Cruz, who had been banned from school with a backpack because he once brought ammunition, was feared by the teachers and warned against by administration and was ultimately expelled.
"What we can commend the school on doing is they did everything within their powers to thwart this problem before it became an issue in their school," Roberts said. "Unfortunately, that's what it turned out to be."
Watch below, via CNN: