A bail bondsman who lives in Mississippi and alerted the FBI months ago that a commenter on his YouTube channel had talked about becoming a “school shooter” was contacted by the law enforcement agency just hours after Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 children and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday.
“I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” the comment, posted on September 24, 2017, said.
Ben Bennight talks about his trade on his channel and, because of his line of work, often gets harsh comments. But the one from Cruz caught his attention.
“I knew that I couldn’t just ignore that,” Bennight said in a video posted on Wednesday after an FBI field agent in his state visited his home and questioned him about the September report.
In the video Bennight, who goes by the name Ben the Bondsman, said he took a screenshot of the comment and reported it to YouTube, which took the comment down.
Then he tried to email it to an email address he found on the FBI website — firstname.lastname@example.org — which bounced back. Bennight also took a screenshot of that.
He also left a message for the FBI field office in Mississippi.
“The next day I had tWo FBI agents standing in my office, taking down the information, taking copies of the screenshot and asking me questions that of course, I couldn’t answer,” Bennight said.
Bennight said he wasn’t putting the video up to “judge” anyone but wanted to share his experience.
He, in fact, said the FBI contacting him so soon after the Florida shooting could be a good sign that the agency was doing what it should do.
“I think they already know,” Bennight said. “They contacted me very quickly after the incident.”
“I would like to think they were already investigating this guy and they had it at the top of their radar, and that’s how they wound up contacting me so quickly,” Bennight said.
“I wish that the information could have prevented this from happening, but it was a generic comment and people say things — keyboard commandos type things all the time that they don’t mean,” Bennight said.
“I’m not sure that there’s really anything the FBI could have done with that information other than keep an eye on somebody,” he said.
Bennight also sent condolences to the victims and first responders.
“I hope everybody involved can start the healing process soon,” Bennight said. “You never really heal from these kinds of wounds.”
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