THE BRONX — When Dr. Henry Bello, a medical resident at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, was forced out of his job in 2015 because of sexual harassment allegations, he threatened to kill his co-workers.
After a period of homelessness and unsuccessful attempts to hold on to new jobs, Bello made good on his threat on June 30, 2017.
Bello wore a white lab coat and walked into Bronx Lebanon Hospital, hiding an AM-15 rifle, heading to the 16th floor, where he shot three medical residents, a doctor and a patient. He then ran to the 17th floor, where he fatally shot Dr. Tracy Tam before turning the rifle on himself.
Despite Bello’s threats to kill co-workers — something Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz had threatened to do to his classmates and ex-girlfriend in Parkland, Fla. — there were no warnings on any state database when Bello went to buy the rifle in upstate Schenectady County 10 days before the June 2017 hospital shooting.
He passed a background check after filling out a federal form called ATF 4473. The form asks if people have ever been convicted of a felony crime. Bello had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2004 for a sexual harassment offense. That’s not enough to stop someone from buying a gun.
In Florida, the FBI Special Agent in Charge out of the agency’s Miami office Rob Lasky said at a Thursday news conference that the FBI conducted “database reviews,” after a Mississippi man reported a user by the name of Nikolas Cruz was boasting on YouTube last September that he planned to become a “professional school shooter.”
“We could not positively identify him,” Lasky said.
The YouTube poster was wearing bandanas over his face.
“I’m not willing to say it was the same person,” he said.
On Friday, the FBI said it failed to investigate the complaint made last September.
The FBI, like most law enforcement agencies, is sensitive to criticism that it missed opportunities to stop heinous crimes.
Before the 9/11 attacks, the FBI and CIA had received warnings that young men with student visas from overseas — many of them from Saudi Arabia — were taking flight lessons.
Four jets were used to carry out the worst act of terror on U.S. soil, which toppled the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, badly damaged the Pentagon, and killed passengers and crew who crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Red flags were also present before the 2013 pressure-cooker bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three and maimed many others.
Russian officials had warned the FBI in 2011 about the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He had traveled to a region near Chechnya that was heavily radicalized.
The FBI closed out the case after speaking to Tsarnaev but the Russians sent another warning to the CIA.
The CIA entered Tsarnaev’s name in a database but the name was spelled wrong, so Tamerlan Tsarnaev was not stopped when he returned to the United States, via Kennedy Airport, from a trip abroad.
The father of the convicted Chelsea bomber Ahmed Rahimi, who wounded 30 New Yorkers with a pressure-cooker bomb he planted on West 23rd Street in 2016, told the FBI his son was a terrorist two years before the attack.
But the father later recanted his claims, which were made when police responded to a domestic incident at the family’s New Jersey home.
Several days before Rahimi planted the bombs, surveillance shows he was practicing detonating devices in the backyard of his house, while a mother believed to be him mother recorded the action on a cellphone.