More revelations about Nikolas Cruz continue to pile up in hindsight since he killed 17 students and teachers in the Parkland, Florida shooting last week. The recently released transcript of an FBI tip line call now shows the bureau knew he was mutilating small animals.
The call was made on Jan. 5, 2018. The caller had insider knowledge of Cruz's family life, his financial turbulence, and his previous violent outbursts. They called the FBI tip line after already having spoken with officials in Parkland, asking investigators to look into Cruz's Instagram presence before "he takes off and, and just starts shooting places up."
The caller pointed out many concerns with Cruz's online persona. From photos of weaponry to actual articulate threats of violence, they provided the intake specialist with all four of Cruz's Instagram accounts, including the one where Cruz had posted a photo of a mutilated frog.
"Um, and that's where all... And now, it -- it's cutting up animals and things like that. Little animals. Right now it's just frogs and I know for a fact it was a bird at one time. Uh, just to, just to give you a little background on him. You know how a bird will fly around in the backyard and hit your glass door, your sliding glass doors and hit the ground?"
"Mhm," the bureau official replied.
"Well that's what happened. He brought the bird into the house. He threw it on his mother's kitchen counter and he started cutting it up. He has all kinds of hunting knives. I don't know what knife he used though. And he started cutting the, uh, bird up and his mother, Linda, said 'What're you doing?' And he says, 'I want to see what's inside.' Now... I don't know, [chuckle.] That to me would be a red flag," the caller concluded.
The incident involving small animals was only evidence in the caller's clearly stated fear that Cruz would commit a mass shooting. Specifically, the caller repeatedly said that they thought Cruz might commit a school shooting -- as he did, on Feb. 14.
"It's alarming to see these pictures and to know what he's capable of doing and -- and what could happen," the caller said later. "He's not in school any longer. He never graduated high school. He's thrown out of all these schools because he would pick up a chair and just throw it at somebody, a teacher or a student because he didn't like the way they were talking to him."0comments
"Um, I -- I just think about, you know, getting into a school and just shooting the place up. You know, he -- he... unless there's any other information I could possibly give you, I, you know, I'm, I will."
The FBI's acting deputy director, David L. Bowdich, met with congressional staff members on Friday to discuss the case. He acknowledged the bureau's failure to properly investigate the tip, according to a report by The New York Times. Cruz is currently being held without bail. He's expected to plead guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder.