Officials Haven't Found Evidence Linking Florida Shooting Suspect To White Supremacists (UPDATE)


UPDATE: As of Thursday evening, law enforcement officials in Florida have reportedly not yet confirmed that a link exists between the Parkland school shooting suspect and the white supremacist paramilitary group Republic of Florida. ROF's Jordan Jereb has not supplied evidence for his initial claim that the shooting suspect was associated with his group, and he later walked back his statements. Additional reporting by HuffPost has not found any credible links between the two. The claim was nevertheless widely reported, including in a headline on HuffPost's front page.


The Republic of Florida, a white nationalist militia, claimed Thursday that the man charged in Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, had been involved in some of its activities.

Jordan Jereb, a leader within the group, told The Associated Press that shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz had participated in the group's paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.

Jereb also told the Anti-Defamation League that Cruz had carpooled to the training exercises with other members of the group. He said Cruz had been "brought up" by a member of ROF, though it was not clear what this meant.

HuffPost was unable to confirm that Cruz is affiliated with ROF. Jereb did not respond to multiple requests for comment or proof of his group's ties to the shooter. But there is reason to doubt Jereb's claims. He lives in Tallahassee, about 430 miles away from where the shooting took place. And he has sought out attention for himself and ROF.

"While almost every neo-Nazi, militiaman, nativist and racist despises the Intelligence Report, Jereb wanted desperately to be mentioned in these pages. He flooded us with pleas for attention," the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote about him in 2014.

Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Jereb told the AP that Cruz had "trouble with a girl" and thinks that may have been linked to him carrying out the attack on Valentine's Day.

Jereb also told The Daily Beast that ROF bought Cruz at least one of his guns. He speculated that Cruz's training with the group helped him carry out Wednesday's massacre.

"I'm not trying to glorify it, but he was pretty efficient in what he did," Jereb said. "He probably used that training to do what he did."

The ROF, which says it seeks to establish a "white ethnostate" in Florida, did not order Cruz to carry out the shooting, Jereb told the ADL. However, attacks carried out by groups like the Republic of Florida are on the rise: Murders by white supremacists more than doubled in 2017 compared to the year before, according to an ADL report released last week.

Less than two months ago, a 21-year-old man who was fixated on violence against Jews and who posted on The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist site, shot and killed two students at a New Mexico high school.

On its website, the ROF admits to being a "violent" group and says its members are prepared to kill or hospitalize anyone they view as a serious physical threat.

The group also describes feminists as "miserable young gals with absolutely no direction in their life."

Jereb told The Daily Beast that Cruz's hatred of feminism "could've played into what he did" on Wednesday.

He then went on to offer an alternative theory.

"We're not a big fan of Jews," he said. "I think there were a lot of Jews at the school that might have been messing with him."

Jessica Schulberg contributed reporting.


More Related News

Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes
Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes

NEW YORK (AP) - A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the U.S. for days leading up to last fall's midterm elections.

Christchurch Muslims protected as they pray following mass haka
Christchurch Muslims protected as they pray following mass haka

Muslims praying in front of the one of the Christchurch mosques attacked by a white supremacist were protected on Wednesday evening by locals, moments after hundreds performed a mass haka. As men, women and children prayed and prostrated, dozens of locals silently stood behind them, their arms interlinked. Moments earlier a crowd of hundreds thumped their chests, stomped their feet and stuck out their tongues for a haka dance, their Maori cries echoing across the park towards the bloodstained mosque.

Smokable medical marijuana is now legal in Florida, but state agency slow to OK sales
Smokable medical marijuana is now legal in Florida, but state agency slow to OK sales

Cannabis providers in Florida are waiting for state regulators to allow them to begin sales of smokable medical marijuana.

Christchurch harbored white supremacists before massacre
Christchurch harbored white supremacists before massacre

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - The leafy New Zealand city where a self-proclaimed racist fatally shot 50 people at mosques during Friday prayers is known for its picturesque meandering river and English heritage. For decades, Christchurch has also been the center of the country's small but persistent white supremacist movement.

Why you
Why you'll never meet a white supremacist who cares about climate change

Behind the urgency of climate action is the understanding that everything is connected; behind white supremacy is an ideology of separation Students march through the streets during a strike to raise climate change awareness on 15 March in Wellington, New Zealand. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesAs the news of the Christchurch mosque massacre broke and I scoured the news, I came across a map showing that the Friday morning climate strike in Christchurch was close to the bloodbath. I felt terrible for the young people who showed up with hope and idealism, wondered whether the killer or killers chose this particular day to undermine the impact of this global climate action. It was a...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.