Trump slams FBI over school shooting, says preoccupied with Russia probe

PHOTO: AFP

US President Donald Trump slammed the FBI Saturday for failing to heed signs that could have prevented the Florida school shooting, charging the agency was too preoccupied with probing his campaign team over Russian election meddling.

Allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and collusion with the Trump campaign are being investigated by several congressional committees and by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who took charge of the federal government's probe from the FBI last year following the sacking of its former chief James Comey.

"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable," he wrote on Twitter.

"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!"

Troubled teen Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people with an assault rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday.

It was the 18th school shooting of the year and sparked renewed calls for gun control.

US authorities have come under mounting scrutiny for failing to act on a series of warning signs.

The FBI admitted Friday it received a chilling warning in January from a tipster who said Cruz could be planning a mass shooting, but agents failed to follow up.

17 killed in Valentine's Day shooting spree at Florida high school

  • The gunman surrendered to police without a struggle, Israel said. Investigators believe he was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and had multiple magazines of ammunition, according to the sheriff.
  • A man placed in handcuffs is led by police near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018
  • Twelve of the dead were killed inside the school, two others just outside, one more on the street and two other victims died of their injuries at a hospital.
  • A 19-year-old gunman returned to a Florida high school where he had once been expelled for disciplinary reasons and opened fire with an assault-style rifle on Wednesday, killing 17 people before he was arrested by police, authorities said.
  • The victims comprised a mixture of students and adults.
  • The gunman was identified as Nikolaus Cruz, who previously attended the school and was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons
  • Live television footage showed students streaming out of the building as dozens of police and emergency services personnel swarmed the area.
  • The Valentine's Day bloodshed in the Miami suburb of gated communities with palm- and shrub-lined streets was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at schools and college campuses across the United States over the past several years.
  • McKenzie Hartley, 19, who identified herself as the sister of a student at the school described the scene in a text message to Reuters: "She heard him shooting through the windows of classrooms and two students were shot."
  • Staff and students told local media that a fire alarm went off around the time the shooting started, sparking chaos as some 3,300 students at the school first headed into hallways before teachers herded them back into classrooms, to seek shelter in closets.
  • CBS News posted a brief clip of cell phone video footage the network said was taken from inside a classroom, showing what appeared to be several students. A rapid series of loud gunshots are heard amid hysterical screaming and someone yelling, “Oh my God.”

Cruz was also known to local police after his mother repeatedly reported him for violent outbursts, while records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel show authorities investigated him in 2016 after he cut his arms on messaging app Snapchat and threatened to buy a gun.

Mueller's investigation has so far swept up four members of Trump's campaign, with two agreeing to work for the probe under a plea deal.

On Thursday Mueller indicted 13 Russians for allegedly running a secret campaign to tilt the vote, but did not accuse any Americans of knowingly participating in that effort.

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