Following the tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting, Americans are asking themselves: Could it have been prevented?
According to reports, the FBI was notified in September that a YouTube user named “Nikolas Cruz”–the name of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooter–wrote that he wanted to “be a professional school shooter.”
According to BuzzFeed, a Mississippi bail bondsman who runs a YouTube channel saw the concerning comment on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” wrote a “Nikolas Cruz,” whose profile did not have a photo.
The YouTuber, Ben Bennight, sent a screenshot of the comment to the FBI and personally called the Mississippi FBI field office.
He also reported the comment to YouTube, which deleted it from the video page.
Bennight said he was “immediately” contacted by FBI, and was brought in for an interview on September 25.
He told BuzzFeed News: “They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person. I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
Following the horrific school shooting on Wednesday, the FBI got back in touch with Bennight. He was called at 4:30pm, half an hour after 19-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Crus was taken into custody.
“I think we spoke with you in the past about a complaint that you made about someone making a comment on your YouTube channel,” Special Agent Ryan Furr said to Bennight in a voice mail.
“I just wanted to follow up with you on that and ask you a question with something that’s come up, if you wouldn’t mind giving me a ring.”
Hours later, Bennight received a personal visit from Bureau agents. “They asked me if I knew who he was,” he said. “I didn’t. I don’t. Then they left.”
It has not yet been confimed whether the Nikolas Cruz Youtube account belonged to the suspect in the high school shooting.
YouTube users discovered another alarming comment that has since been deleted, The Sun reported. Written in response to a documentary clip 1966 University of Texas clock tower sniper, a remark by a Nikolas Cruz read “I’m going to [do] what he did.”
Bennight spoke about his experience in a YouTube video published Wednesday.
“People leave pretty heinous comments on a pretty regular basis on this channel and I really didn’t think anything of it,” Bennight explained. “But this comment said, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter’ and I knew I couldn’t just ignore that.”
Cruz was reportedly expelled from the high school for disciplinary reasons. Fellow students believed he was capable of committing a school shooting, and his social media accounts showed he was obsessed with guns and knives.
As Americans search for answers, the nation is in mourning.
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