In September, a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz left a comment on a video stating, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The video’s creator alerted both the FBI and YouTube.
Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” said a user named Nikolas Cruz.
The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment and calling the bureau’s Mississippi field office. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video.
Agents with the bureau’s Mississippi field office got back to him “immediately,” Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”
FBI agents contacted Bennight again Wednesday, after a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people.
In the wake of the deadly shooting, questions have emerged over whether officials and acquaintances had missed warning signs about the alleged shooter, a former student who was expelled from the high school last year for disciplinary reasons.
Classmates, relatives, and neighbors have described Cruz as a troubled “loner” who often talked about guns and flaunted his obsession with weapons on his social media accounts.
FL Shooting Survivor Colton Haab: CNN Told Me I Needed To “Stick To The Script”; Entire Town Hall Scripted
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Colton Haab appeared on FOX News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight to talk about his saga with CNN and how they “scripted” a question for him to use at Wednesday night’s town hall event hosted by the network and moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Haab, a JROTC member who helped shepherd students to safety, was approached by the network to ask a question at the town hall. Haab showed CNN what he wanted to say but said Carrie Stevenson, an executive producer at CNN, ultimately rejected it and instead after several conversations “scripted” a question for him.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab said to a local news outlet Wednesday night.
Haab said he believed all the questions asked at the town hall were scripted. Haab explained in detail what happened between him and the cable news network and what he thought of the town hall.
COLTON HAAB: So what had happened was four days ago I had gotten contacted by a lady named [State of the Union executive producer] Carrie Stevenson from CNN. She had asked me originally to just write a speech. It was going to be at the town hall at the BB&T Center [in Sunrise, Florida]. So I agreed. I felt like it would be the right thing to do. Be able to go speak my part as well as open eyes to a few things that I thought that can make this situation a little better. From there, three days ago, so the next day after that I had gotten an email back from her and she asked for more of questions rather than a speech. Which I was totally fine with so I wrote a little less of a speech and more of questions that I wanted to ask at the town hall. The day after that it was more of just questions. She asked for just questions that I would like to ask.
So, I gave her my questions and then yesterday, at about 5:15, I made contact with her. And she had asked if I had just asked her one question. So what they had actually done was wrote out a question for me because in my interview with CNN, I had talked about arming the teachers, if they were willing to arm themselves in the school to carry on campus. And they had — she had taken that of what I had briefed on and actually wrote that question out for me. So I have that question here if you would like me to ask it for you.
“I just want to make sure I have this straight. So you sent them a long, in effect essay on what you thought but they put their own words in the question and they weren’t the same as the words you had sent in? They were the producer’s words?” Carlson asked.
“Absolutely,” Haab answered. “They had taken what I had wrote and what I had briefed on and talked about and they actually wrote the question for me.”