CNN contributor Symone Sanders believes she knows why the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not treat warnings about the suspect in the Parkland school schooting with any sort of urgency.
Last week, authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program. It was later reported that the FBI was previously alerted to Cruz and a few disturbing threats he made online, including one about wanting to carry out a school shooting.
While appearing on a CNN panel, Sanders argued that the FBI largely ignored Cruz because of his race, ethnicity and religion.
“All I want to say is, had the Parkland shooter been black or brown, we wouldn’t be talking about the types of legislation we could and could not make happen.” she began to argue. “Because if he was yelling ‘Allah Akbar,’ Congress and the president would have been tweeting about it, and they would have swooped in- ”
Political analyst Bill Kristol cut Sanders off to tell her that she was “just thinking about race.”
Sanders then criticized that “white supremacists have repeatedly slipped through the fingers of the FBI,” referencing a now-debunked claim that Cruz was associated with a white nationalist group in Florida.
When asked to clarify whether or not she was saying the FBI “does not care,” Sanders replied that she was shedding light on “a pattern.”
Cruz reportedly displayed several warning signs of violent behavior over the years.
He was allegedly abusive toward his mother, and authorities were often called to the house. At one point, his mother told Broward County Sheriff’s deputies that she was worried about her son, as he began “cutting his arms … to get attention.” He was also reported to have abused his high school ex-girlfriend and was reportedly expelled from the school after getting into a fight with her new boyfriend.
Another one of Cruz’s fights was recorded on a cell-phone video. That particular fight, which occurred in 2016, was one of the five documented incidents that apparently led to Cruz’s expulsion from the school.
A neighbor captured this video of a half-dressed Cruz using his backyard for target practice with a BB gun.
The shooting at the school marked the 25th American school shooting in which someone was killed since the devastating 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.