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Florida gov calls on FBI director to resign after failing to investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz

PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Candles that were placed on crosses still glow after last nights vigil for victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at Pine Trail Park, on February 16, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz for killing 17 people at the high school. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign after discovering that the FBI failed to investigate a tip that the accused Florida school shooter could be plotting an attack.

Scott on Friday sharply criticized the federal law enforcement agency, saying in a statement that the “FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable.”

The FBI acknowledged it failed to act on a tip to its hotline that Nikolas Cruz had a “desire to kill.”

In a statement, Scott said that “an apology will never bring these 17 Floridians back to life or comfort the families who are in pain.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also criticized the FBI separately, saying it was “inexcusable” the FBI did not follow protocols. He said that Congress should launch its own investigations into what happened.

Vice President Mike Pence has called the mass shooting at a Florida high school “every parent’s nightmare” and says the nation is praying for the victims and their families.

Pence spoke Friday on a stop in San Antonio, Texas, about Wednesday’s shooting in Broward County, Florida, that claimed 17 lives. The vice president says “the heartache in Broward County is unimaginable” but it’s a heartache that many Texans know from the deadly shooting last year at a church” in that state.

The vice president says, “then as now, our hearts were broken. Then as now, heroes were forged.”

Pence is on a fundraising trip to Texas and also plans to inspect the U.S.-Mexican border as lawmakers debate immigration proposals.

Flowers and crosses line a fence near the school on a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 16, 2018.
A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the Florida high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured.
/ AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

2:55 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordering a review of the Justice Department’s processes after the FBI failed to investigate a tip that the Florida school shooting suspect could be plotting an attack.

Sessions said Friday the shooting that killed 17 people was a “tragic consequence” of the FBI’s failures. He said it’s now clear that the nation’s premier law enforcement agency missed warning signs. The FBI acknowledged it failed to act on a tip to its hotline that Nikolas Cruz had a “desire to kill.”

The review will include a look at what went wrong and how the agency and Justice Department respond. Sessions says it may include “possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement.”

Authorities say Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others.

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2:20 p.m.

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation. It was part of a multi-million dollar effort by the pro-gun group to support youth shooting clubs.

Nikolas Cruz was wearing a shirt with the logo of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program when he was arrested Wednesday. Former cadets told The Associated Press that Cruz was on the varsity marksmanship team that competed against other area schools.

The cadets used air rifles special-made for target shooting. The JROTC program at Cruz’s school received $10,827 in non-cash assistance from the NRA’s foundation while he was there.

The NRA declined to comment. The foundation gave nearly $2.2 million to schools in 2016.

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12:40 p.m.

A group of high schoolers has walked out of classes to protest gun violence after a mass shooting killed 17 people at a neighboring school.

The South Broward High School students began their protest along U.S. 1 in Hollywood as school started on Friday morning. Students told news outlets they were protesting gun violence, the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump. One sign also took aim at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, showing him with $$ for eyes and accusing him of taking $3 million in NRA blood money.

They’ve added their voices to a groundswell among students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who have been speaking out against gun violence since the shooting on Wednesday.

Former student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following. The 19-year-old man was arrested about two miles from the school a short time after the shooting.

South Broward High School is some 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Parkland.

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12:35 p.m.

The FBI says it failed to investigate a specific report in January that Nikolas Cruz could be plotting a school shooting.

The agency said in a statement Friday that the tip should’ve been investigated thoroughly because it was a potential threat to life. Cruz has been arrested and charged with killing 17 people at a high school earlier this week.

On Jan. 5, a tipster who was close to Cruz called the FBI and provided information about Cruz’s guns, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts. The FBI says the caller expressed concerns Cruz could attack a school.

FBI Director Christopher Wray says the agency deeply regrets the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.

The FBI also had been notified about a comment on a YouTube video posted by a “Nikolas Cruz” last year. It investigated that comment but did not determine who made it.

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11:35 a.m.

At the first funeral for a victim of the Florida high school shooting, mourners packed the Star of David chapel to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.

Those outside Friday stood and strained to hear the voices chanting Jewish prayers and remembering the star soccer player as having “the strongest personality.” She was also remembered as a creative writer with a memorable smile.

Authorities say Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others. Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday.

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11 a.m.

Sen. Bill Nelson says he’s continuing to work for changes in gun laws after 17 people were killed in a Florida high school.

The Florida Democrat says the state Legislature also bears responsibility, since it could outlaw assault weapons in the state.

Speaking outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Friday, Nelson said he’s inspired by the students at who’ve been demanding changes to make gun violence less likely.

Nelson says “these kids are just terrific. … The fact that they are speaking up as boldly as they are, maybe that’s the turning point. You haven’t heard students speak up one after another after another after witnessing such carnage and speaking out with such conviction.”

Former student Nikolas Cruz is being held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

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10:40 a.m.

Groups advocating stricter gun laws are organizing Americans who want to channel anger into action after the deadly Florida school shooting.

Everytown for Gun Safety says it has received $800,000 in unsolicited donations since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It calls it a precursor for midterm elections in 2018, which it hopes will turn the tide in gun politics.

John Feinblatt, president of the Everytown group, says “it’s time to elect leaders who will finally act to save lives from gun violence.”

The five-point action plan includes pledging to vote according to candidates’ positions on gun safety, letting leaders know the money they’ve taken from the National Rifle Association will determine one’s vote, registering friends to vote, getting candidates to state their conditions on the record, and finally, running for office to become a champion for sensible gun laws.

Shannon Watts, who founded the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said “many of our lawmakers have failed us, but that’s why we have elections.”

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10:30 a.m.

A grieving mother who directed her anger at President Donald Trump on live television after the Florida school shooting isn’t done shouting. And she’s made it personal, invoking the president’s 11-year-old son, Barron.

Lori Alhadeff spoke Friday in a CNN interview before the funeral for her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa.

She said, “President Trump, Barron goes to school. Let’s protect Barron. And let’s also protect all these other kids.”

Then her voice raised to a shout as she said “You need to help us, now. We need security now for all these children. We need Action, Action, Action!”

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10:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s heading to Florida, where a community is in mourning after a shooting at a high school killed 17 people.

In a Friday morning tweet, Trump said “I will be leaving for Florida today to meet with some of the bravest people on earth — but people whose lives have been totally shattered.”

He also said he’ll be working with Congress “on many fronts.”

Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others. Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday.

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10 a.m.

Funeral services are being scheduled for victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Meadow Pollack and Alyssa Alhadeff will be buried in the Garden of Aaron at Star of David Memorial Gardens in North Lauderdale after separate funerals on Friday.

Fourteen-year-old Alyssa was among the youngest victims of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Her mother screamed on CNN, demanding that President Donald Trump take action.

Eighteen-year-old Meadow was a senior planning to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Another funeral service is scheduled Sunday for 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg.

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7 a.m.

Jimmy Kimmel opened his late night show by replaying clips from President Donald Trump’s statement about the killings of 17 people by a teenager with an AR-15 assault weapon at a Florida high school — including the part where Trump said “no parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”

Kimmel said he agrees, “and here’s what you do to fix that. Tell your buddies in Congress, tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio, all the family men who care so much about their communities, that what we need are laws, real laws, that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are going to shoot our kids. Go on TV and tell them to do that!” he said to strong applause.

Kimmel called on Trump to “force these allegedly Christian men and women who stuff their pockets from the NRA to do something, now. Not later, now. And don’t you dare let them say it’s too soon to be talking about it.”

Kimmel urged people to write their representatives, call them, “and if they don’t listen, vote them out of office.”

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1:20 a.m.

At least 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil near the school Thursday night, some openly sobbing as the victims’ names were read aloud. At one point, people began chanting, “No more guns! No more guns!”

Some held flowers. Others held signs asking for action, including gun control, against school violence.

“Kids don’t need guns. No guns under 21,” read one sign.

Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who became an orphan when his mother died in November and had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, legally bought the AR-15 assault weapon he used to kill 17 people and wound more than a dozen others.

Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday. His lawyer called him a “broken human being” and Executive Chief Public Defender Gordon Weeks said he was under a suicide watch.