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FBI to improve process for handling tips in wake of Parkland shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI will beef up its procedures for documenting and following up on investigative leads after mishandling detailed tips in regards to the teenager who shot and killed 17 individuals at a highschool in Parkland, Florida, a prime official stated on Wednesday.

Speaking publicly earlier than a U.S. Senate panel for the primary time since he was elevated to the No. 2 spot on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January, Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich testified that his company ought to have executed extra to examine and reply appropriately to tips about alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz.

One of these tips, obtained in January simply weeks earlier than the shooting, got here from a caller who warned the FBI she feared Cruz, 19, may attempt shooting up the varsity and had exhibited disturbing habits, akin to mutilating animals and expressing a want to kill.

“Did the FBI reach out to law enforcement to give them a warning about Cruz?” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley requested Bowdich.

“Sir, we did not,” Bowdich stated. “I do not know why the call taker did not do so.”

Wednesday’s listening to got here as highschool college students throughout the United States walked out of their lecture rooms in protest to demand stricter gun legal guidelines.

The shooting in Florida has reignited a long-standing debate in Congress over gun management, with many younger individuals calling on state and federal officers to take steps akin to banning assault-style rifles, elevating the age for buying firearms and enhancing the background verify process.

But regardless of overwhelming public assist for stricter gun legal guidelines, many of the payments in Congress nonetheless stay in limbo – together with one bipartisan measure with 69 co-sponsors that might strengthen a nationwide background verify for gun possession.

“Politicians are petrified by the National Rifle Association,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois stated Wednesday, sparking applause from a packed crowd that included protesters with indicators lambasting the NRA.

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday had been notably vital of the FBI, in addition to Florida officers, for not appearing on tips or guaranteeing that Cruz obtained therapy for psychological sickness.

“At all levels, law enforcement must explain what went wrong,” Grassley stated.

Bowdich stated some preliminary findings and proposals have been issued for the reason that incident.

It was nonetheless not clear how the decision taker on the FBI introduced the Cruz tip to her supervisor earlier than it was dropped, however the process will likely be improved going ahead, Bowdich stated.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Tom Brown

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