Tags: Homeland Security | Mass Shootings | florida | school shooting | supremacist group | republic of florida militia | rof

No Evidence Yet Shooter Linked to Supremacist Group

Image: No Evidence Yet Shooter Linked to Supremacist Group
Nikolas Cruz was arraigned on 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Susan Stocker/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 15 February 2018 10:16 PM

Florida police officials have not found a connection between accused Parkland high school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a white-supremacist group in Tallahassee, refuting news reports Thursday citing the organization's leader.

"We are still doing some work, but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter," Leon County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan told The Tallahassee Democrat.

Jordan was referring to the Republic of Florida Militia in Tallahassee and its leader, Jordan Jereb.

He told The Associated Press and the Anti-Defamation League earlier Thursday that Cruz had trained with the group.

But Jereb said his group did not order Cruz to carry out Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

In addition, Jordan and other law enforcement sources declined to confirm to the Democrat whether they had spoken to Jereb, whom the newspaper described as being "no stranger to Tallahassee law enforcement."

Since January 2014, the sheriff's office has arrested Jereb at least four times and has been monitoring the group's membership, AP reported.

In 2016, Jereb was taken into custody for allegedly threatening a top staffer of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, according to the Democrat.

While Jereb's comments on Cruz were widely reported in the media, he appeared to be walking them back later Thursday, HuffPost reports.

"There was a misunderstanding because we have MULTIPLE people named Nicholas in ROF," a user named @JordanJereb posted on Gab, a social media platform apparently popular with the alt-right, according to HuffPost.

"Are you really going to blame ME for the lying . . . media?" the post continued. "We know they are liars. F**k em."

"HuffPost messaged the user, who had posted about ROF months before Wednesday's shooting, but was not immediately able to confirm his identity," the site reports.

Further, "Jereb did not respond to repeated requests for proof of Cruz’s involvement with ROF," according to HuffPost.

The FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting that killed 17 people and injured 14 others, declined to comment to the site.

HuffPost said it also found inconsistencies in media reports on alleged ties between Jereb and Cruz.

For instance, Jereb told The Miami Herald he had never personally met Cruz.

"I know with certainty he had something to do with us," he said Thursday.

ABC News also disclosed that three of Cruz's former classmates said he was part of the ROF.

The network reported the ex-classmates claimed Cruz was "often seen with Jereb."

However, Jereb's last address listed in public records is in Tallahassee, 430 miles from Parkland, according to HuffPost.

"ABC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on how it verified the identities of Cruz's former classmates," the site reports.

A spokesman for the ADL, which first reported the alleged tie between Cruz and the ROF, told HuffPost Thursday "it is for law enforcement to 100 percent confirm that he was a part of this group.

"Given what we found today and the timing of the case, there is no doubt the information raises a red flag and should be investigated further," the spokesman said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which also tracks hate groups, told HuffPost it had not been able to confirm any possible ties between Cruz and the ROF.

"It may seem odd that Jereb would bring attention to his group by claiming a connection to Cruz, but Jereb has always been somewhat of a publicity seeker," said Heidi Beirich, director of the group's intelligence project.

In 2014, the SPLC wrote, according to HuffPost: "Jereb was a weird character even in the extremist underworld to which he so badly wanted to belong."

The center said Jereb "wanted desperately to be mentioned in these pages.

"He flooded us with pleas for attention."

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A connection between accused Parkland, Florida, high school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a white-supremacist group in Tallahassee has yet been link, despite reports to the contrary, according to Florida police officials.
florida, school shooting, supremacist group, republic of florida militia, rof
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2018-16-15
Thursday, 15 February 2018 10:16 PM
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