Parkland, FL – Authorities said they haven’t found a link between the teenager who murdered 17 people at a Florida high school on Wednesday, and a white supremacist group who has claimed his association.
Leon County law enforcement sources told the Tallahassee Democrat that they could not find information linking Nikolas Cruz to the Republic of Florida Militia (ROF), as was reported by the group’s self-proclaimed leader Jordan Jereb.
On Feb. 14, Cruz pulled the fire alarm at his former high school, and opened fire on students and faculty with an AR-15 as they streamed out of class, killing 17 and injury many more.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Grady Jordan said investigators had looked into it and not found any connections between the 19-year-old shooter and the Tallahassee-based paramilitary organization.
“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter,” Lt. Jordan said.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced Thursday that there had been talk in an online chat forum about Cruz being a member of the militia.
They said Jereb told ADL that Cruz was associated with ROF and had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other members from south Florida.
Jereb said that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do the school shooting, ADL wrote in their blog.
JJ MacNab, an expert on anti-government extremists, said on Twitter that she had doubts about Cruz being connected to the Florida militia.
MacNab said she didn’t believe Cruz trained with white supremacists. She said all the media reports were citing the same source, and that didn’t give the information confirmation.
She mentioned a story by ABC News that quoted three former schoolmates saying that Cruz was often seen with Jereb, but said that seemed strange because Jereb lives 430 miles from the shooter and the school.
MacNab pointed out that Jereb told the Associated Press that he had never met Cruz personally, and yet, the Daily Beast quoted Jereb saying that Cruz “seemed like just a normal, disenfranchised, young white man.”
“Jereb gave the Daily Beast his impression of the shooter and got some free publicity for his hate speech,” MacNab tweeted.
Thus far, Jereb was the only source linking Cruz to the ROF, McNabb said.
Cruz, 19, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday, The New York Times reported.
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