The Latest: FBI details mistakes handling tip line calls - InfoNews

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The Latest: FBI details mistakes handling tip line calls

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at a news conference following a visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Coral Springs, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
March 07, 2018 - 4:25 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Latest on a shooting at a Florida high school (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

The FBI has detailed to Congress a series of mistakes and missed opportunities to intervene before a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last month.

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich made the comments in a closed briefing Tuesday with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

In a summary released Wednesday, Bowdich cited two tips the FBI received about shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, in September 2017 and January 2018, that were mishandled, including one in which a FBI call taker "did not ask any standard investigative probing questions." The 2018 call taker was able to connect Cruz to the earlier call about a threatening YouTube comment, but after discussing it with a supervisor, they decided not to pursue the matter and the case was closed.

The chairmen of the two committees said that "despite multiple opportunities, the FBI did not share information with state and local authorities" about Nikolas Cruz.

The FBI is reviewing its handling of the case and will report findings to Congress.

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Officials say two Florida police officers who responded to last month's school shooting from a neighbouring city have been temporarily suspended from the SWAT team.

Miramar police spokeswoman Tania Rues said in an email Wednesday that the officers didn't advise supervisors that they were going to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The suspension only applies to the SWAT team, so they'll remain on active duty for other assignments.

Miramar's SWAT team had been training in nearby Coral Springs the morning of Feb. 14. The team had been placed on stand-by after the active-shooter report, but the Broward Sheriff's Office never called for them.

Miramar police say the officers' actions created a lack of accountability and potential safety situation.

Rues says a third SWAT team member was suspended for violating the department's social media policy.

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6:30 p.m.

The Florida House has passed a school safety bill that includes new restrictions on rifle sales and a program to arm some teachers.

The House voted 67-50 Wednesday on a bill that's a response to the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school that killed 17 people. The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.

The vote reflected a mix of Republicans and Democrats in support and opposition. Even supporters said they didn't like some aspects of the bill.

The bill also provides new mental health programs for schools and provision to keep guns away from people who show signs of mental illness or violent behaviour.

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6 p.m.

A survivor of the Florida school shooting that killed 17 last month and the father of one of the victims have spoken at a gun violence hearing hosted by U.S. Senate Democrats.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and David Hogg, and 17-year-old senior and spoke Wednesday afternoon during the hearing.

Hogg said the Centers For Disease Control should be allowed to study gun violence. He called for the digitalization of gun records, universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and some type of assault weapon reform, if not an outright ban.

Guttenberg said lawmakers are going to have to break their ties to the gun lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association of America, if any significant change is going to occur.

Guttenberg said he believes in the second amendment but not the distorted version presented by gun lobbyists.

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3:25 p.m.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says he hopes more states enact gun violence protection orders that might prevent shootings like the high school massacre that killed 17 people.

Rubio said Wednesday he planned to file legislation that would give incentives to states enacting those protection orders. The incentives would come in the form of grants from the Department of Justice over the next five years.

The orders would allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition courts to prohibit the purchase or possession of guns by people who are deemed a significant threat.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson joined Rubio for the announcement in Washington, D.C. Nelson said he backed the proposal, but he also ultimately wants universal background checks and more restrictions on assault weapons.

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1:45 p.m.

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz has been formally charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he's convicted.

A grand jury in Fort Lauderdale returned the indictment Wednesday against the 19-year-old Cruz for the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people died and 16 were wounded.

The indictment also charges Cruz with 17 counts of attempted murder.

Cruz's public defender has said he'll plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, which would mean a life prison sentence. The Broward County state attorney hasn't announced a decision on the death penalty.

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12:45 p.m.

The head of Florida's law-enforcement agency says subpoenas are being prepared in an investigation into the police response to a mass shooting at a high school.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen said Wednesday that the agency will eventually turn over its findings to the Broward County prosecutor.

He said his investigators have begun to prepare subpoenas and will start reviewing documents before interviewing the law enforcement agencies that responded to the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Swearingen said the investigation won't be rushed.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott last month ordered FDLE to investigate the response to the shooting amid an outcry from some Republican legislators who wanted the governor to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

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12:45 p.m.

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat made a surprise appearance at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday morning, meeting with students and teachers and posing for photos.

Wade told the students that they were inspiring to him. He punctuated his remarks with "MSD Strong all the way" — which was met with a loud roar.

Wade has worn the name of shooting victim Joaquin Oliver on his game sneakers for the past several Heat contests. Oliver was buried in a Wade jersey, and Wade met privately with the boy's parents last weekend to thank them and ask how he can help going forward.

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11:25 a.m.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she's interested in hearing suggestions to improve school safety from students at a Florida high school where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting.

DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday.

She said some students told her their healing process after the Feb. 14 shooting was a "day-to-day situation." She said their faces lit up when they talked about therapy dogs that have been brought to campus to help them.

After meeting with students, DeVos told reporters that arming some teachers should be considered an option but not a requirement.

As a model, she cited a program in Florida's Polk County where teachers or other employees at two private universities have trained with the sheriff's office so they can carry concealed weapons on campus.

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10:30 a.m.

Jail records show the 19-year-old accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school is being held in solitary confinement.

The Broward Sheriff's Office has released a report of officers' observations of Nikolas Cruz to local news stations.

The observations start Feb. 17 and end Feb. 24. Officers described Cruz as being co-operative but avoiding eye contact. They said he "often sits with a blank stare."

The report said Cruz appeared to laugh and exhibited "awkward" behaviour during and after a visit with an attorney. He also has had one "family visit."

The report said Cruz also requested a Bible to read in his single-person cell in the infirmary.

Cruz has been jailed since he was arrested shortly after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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10:30 a.m.

A student-athlete at the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people has committed to play football for a Massachusetts college because of the bond he formed with the college's coaches during the shooting.

Tyler Goodman is a quarterback at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He confirmed to WFXT-TV that he has committed to Nichols College, an NCAA Division III school in Dudley, Massachusetts.

Goodman says Nichols wasn't one of his top choices. But during the Feb. 14 shooting, he hid in a room with Nichols' Dean of Admissions Paul Brower and Assistant Football Coach St. Clair Ryan.

Goodman says they "went into father mode and protected us," and "we kind of formed a bond."

He hopes to wear No. 17 in college, a tribute to the 17 victims.

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10:10 a.m.

The couple who provided a home to the Florida school shooting suspect before the Valentine's Day massacre has testified before a grand jury considering formal charges in the case.

James and Kimberly Snead each spent about half an hour in closed-door testimony Wednesday before the panel. Their attorney Jim Lewis says they answered all questions and were fully co-operative.

Lewis says the couple was shocked by what happened and did not foresee 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz doing something like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and wounded 16.

The Sneads took in Cruz after he briefly lived with a family friend following the death of his mother in November.

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder and could face the death penalty.

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7:40 a.m.

A grand jury considering charges against the 19-year-old suspected of killing 17 people at a Florida high school is expected to hear from the family he'd been living with after his mother died late last year.

Nikolas Cruz told investigators he took an AR-15 rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine's Day and started shooting into classrooms. Grand jurors are hearing testimony from witnesses before returning a formal indictment against Cruz.

The family he was living with is expected to testify Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a second student injured in the shooting, has filed a letter of intent to sue the Broward Sheriff's Office, the school system and others.

In Tallahassee, the Florida House is expected to vote on gun legislation stemming from the school shooting.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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