Officials: Florida school shooter showed warning signs

- In the wake of the school shooting, law enforcement agencies are once again encouraging anyone that sees threatening posts on social media to speak up.

The shooter may have announced his plan months before it happened.

As soon as this happened people started searching for a paper trail - or better yet a cyber trail - to see if Nikolas Cruz had posted about his plans.

A Youtube comment posted in September is now being attributed to Cruz. It's straight to the point and nothing short of disturbing.

Video blogger Ben Bennight says he was shocked when someone by the name of Nikolas Cruz wrote "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" underneath one of his Youtube videos months ago.

“I knew that I couldn't just ignore that,” Bennight said.

Vlogger Ben Bennight says he reported it to the FBI.

Federal officials say they looked into it but could not identify who wrote it.

“We are looking into his social media posts,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Rob Lasky said.

Finding these social media threats can be challenging for law enforcement. After Wednesday's school shooting, authorities are calling on people to be their eyes and ears.

“Call the FBI, call the Broward Sheriff's office, call up someone tonight,” urged Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Bay Area agencies say they don't take threats on social media lightly.

“We do a threat assessment… which means you make contact with the person or the person's parents,” explained Tampa Police Department’s Steve Hegarty.

Tampa PD says officers evaluate the person's behavior and check to see if they have a weapon.

But many are often uncertain about what they should report:

Hegarty had this advice for anyone unsure of what to report: “Sometimes specificity is a telltale sign where they're talking about doing something at a particular time at a certain place.”

Some fear their tips will fall through the cracks.

“Kids say a lot of things they probably think they're just trying to be funny or it’s a scam or something, so they probably wouldn't take a kid very seriously,” University of Tampa student Lael Walin said.

And after learning Wednesday’s school shooter may have expressed his plans on social media many are skeptical about how these threats are handled.

“I think social media can be super dangerous I think anybody can say what they want and there's no consequences,” UT student Aaron Wanek said.

Tampa police said specific threats or graphic pictures raise immediate red flags. TP says it never hurts to report anything you feel is suspicious to local authorities.

To report possible threats or concerns to Tampa PD, call the non-emergency number, 813-231-6130.

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