The FBI may have had its eye on alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz as early as last year, according to a new report.
Someone going by “Nikolas Cruz” left a threatening comment on a YouTube video in September, bragging “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” according to Buzzfeed.
The handle left the nasty missive on a post by Mississippi vlogger Ben Bennight. He reported it directly to the FBI on Sept. 24, 2017, and agents were knocking on his door the next day.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person. I didn’t,” Bennight told Buzzfeed.
“They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
Until Wednesday — when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly shot up the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 and injuring 15 in the worst school shooting since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.
Then Bennight’s phone started ringing, first with calls from field agents in Mississippi where he lives, then from another in Miami, near where the shooting took place.
“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 in a voicemail to Bennight according to Buzzfeed. “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.”
Bennight met with agents but was only able to provide a screenshot of the comment, telling them again that he didn’t know anything else about Cruz or the person who left the comment.
“I wish I could have given them more information,” he said in a video posted Wednesday. “People leave pretty heinous comments on a pretty regular basis on this channel,” but “this comment said “I’m going to be a professional school shooter and I knew that I couldn’t just ignore that.”
Cruz’s social media shows he was a weaselly keyboard warrior before he picked up his AR-15 and took his rage to the real world. He frequently feuded with people on Instagram while flaunting photos of his “arsenal” of weapons.
The FBI and YouTube did not comment to Buzzfeed on the report.
The YouTube account associated with Cruz was removed Thursday for “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on violence.”