By Aaron Mak, Slate, 2/15/2018
Update, Feb. 15, 6:40 p.m.: After media outlets began reporting Jereb’s claims about Cruz being affiliated with the ROF, a spokesperson for the Leon County Sheriff’s Office told the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper, “We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter.” A law enforcement source also told the Associated Press after its reporters talked to Jereb that there were “no known ties” between Cruz and a white supremacist group. Jereb himself has apparently taken to Gab, a “free speech” alternative to Twitter popular with the far right, to backtrack on the claims he made.
Original Post: The Republic of Florida, a militant white supremacist organization, admitted to the Anti-Defamation League and others that the 19-year-old charged with murdering 17 people in Wednesday’s Florida high school shooting had ties to the group.
A man claiming to be Jordan Jereb, the purported leader of the group, told the ADL over the phone that alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz was “brought up” by a fellow member, attended at least one ROF training exercise in Tallahassee, and carpooled with other people in the ROF. Jereb and three of Cruz’s former schoolmates also told ABC News that he was part of the group, and the Anti-Defamation League found that 4chan users identifying themselves as ROF members have posted comments to the same effect. The former schoolmates added that they had repeatedly seen Cruz with Jereb and in ROF marches.
Jereb claimed to ABC and the ADL that the organization had neither ordered nor wanted Cruz to carry out an attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Jereb made the same point to the Associated Press, asserting that Cruz “acted on his own behalf” and is “solely responsible for what he just did.” The ROF leader conjectured that the timing of the attack on Valentine’s Day was purposeful because Cruz had “trouble with a girl.”