West Palm Beach, Florida — President Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI Saturday night, saying the agency “missed all of the many signals” sent by the suspect in the Florida school shooting and arguing they are “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”
Trump said on Twitter: “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”
The FBI received a tip last month that the suspect in the Florida school shooting had a “desire to kill” and access to guns and could be plotting an attack. But the agency said Friday that agents failed to investigate.
The FBI’s acknowledgment that it mishandled the tip prompted a sharp rebuke from its boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a call from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump ally, for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign.
Trump and other Republicans have heavily criticized the FBI. They are still dissatisfied with its decision not to charge Hillary Clinton with crimes related to her use of a private email server, and they see signs of bias in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Thousands of angry students, parents, teachers, and neighbors of a Florida high school where 17 people were killed demanded Saturday that immediate action be taken on gun-control legislation, insisting they would not relent until their demands were met.
The rallies in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg gave a political outlet to the growing feelings of rage and mourning sparked by the carnage. Authorities say a former student who had been expelled, had mental health issues and been reported to law enforcement, used a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle to kill students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“Because of these gun laws, people that I know, people that I love, have died, and I will never be able to see them again,” Delaney Tarr, a student at the school, told the crowd swamping the steps and courtyard at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Parkland.
The crowd chanted: “Vote them out!” and held signs calling for action. Some read: “(hash)Never Again,” “(hash)Do something now” and “Don’t Let My Friends Die.”
Student Emma Gonzalez told the crowd politicians should stop taking donations from the National Rifle Association. “Shame on you,” she yelled, and the crowd repeated her.
“A lot of people are saying that these kids are activists, these kids need to be politicians,” she later told a reporter. “But a lot of us are just other students who figured there’s strength in numbers. And we want to be sure that we end up having our message sent across. And then we can get back to our normal everyday lives, you know.”
In St. Petersburg, on Florida’s Gulf Coast 250 miles (400 miles) northwest of Parkland, hundreds of people gathered Saturday night in a park, where they lit candles in memory of the victims and called for legislative action on the state and federal level to end gun violence.
From a mosaic of public records, interviews with friends and family and online interactions, it appears Cruz was unstable and violent to himself and those around him – and that when notified about his threatening behavior, law enforcement did little to stop it.