- In September, a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz commented on a video saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
- The owner of that video notified YouTube and the FBI at the time.
- That incident is taking on new significance after Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida, when a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and wounded over a dozen more.
Ben Bennight, a YouTube vlogger and bail bondsman in Mississippi, knew something was amiss when someone named Nikolas Cruz posted, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” in the comments section of one of his YouTube videos, Buzzfeed News reported Thursday.
So he urged YouTube to remove the comment and emailed a screenshot of it to the FBI, the report said.
The FBI briefly spoke with Bennight, who denied knowing anything about the YouTuber named Cruz.
All of this happened last September, about five months before a 19-year-old man named Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with an AR-15 and multiple magazines, and opened fire on students and teachers, killing 17 people and wounding at least 14.
In the wake of the shooting, an FBI agent based in Miami revisited Bennight’s tip and called him up to ask if he had any additional information about the incident from last fall, he said in a video he posted Wednesday night. Then the FBI in Mississippi went to speak with him in person.
“They asked me if I knew who he was,” Bennight told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t. I don’t. Then they left.”
Buzzfeed said the FBI would not confirm whether the Florida school shooter was connected to the YouTube account Bennight flagged in September.
Residents in the city of Parkland, which was named Florida’s safest city last year, are still reeling from Wednesday’s mass shooting. Families must deal not only with the loss of loved ones, but also with the psychological needs of those who survived.
Students, many of whom barricaded themselves in classrooms until the shooter was apprehended by police, described stepping over pools of blood and dead bodies as they exited the school building.
On Thursday, authorities charged Cruz with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is currently being held at the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale.