Gunman in Florida School Shooting Reportedly a Member of a White Nationalist Group Where He Received Militia Training

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Nikolaus Cruz pg 8

“He probably used that training to do what he did,” said Jordan Jereb, leader of the Republic of Florida.

By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio / February 15, 2018

Nikolas Cruz, who shot and killed 17 people at a high school in Florida on Wednesday, reportedly has ties to a white nationalist organization, according to the leader of the group.

Jordan Jereb, leader of the Republic of Florida (ROF), confirmed Cruz’s membership to multiple outlets. Following Jereb’s initial claim, though, conflicting reports have emerged.

“Jereb told The Associated Press that his group wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds ‘spontaneous random demonstrations’ and tries not to participate in the modern world.”

Jereb told the Daily Beast that he doesn’t know Cruz very well. (Several of Cruz’s former classmates told ABC News that they often saw Cruz and Jereb together, though.)

Whether or not Jereb and Cruz were close, though, Jereb said that Cruz “knew full well he was joining a white separatist paramilitary proto-facist organization. I know he knew that much,” according to the Daily Beast.

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Jereb tried to distance his group from Cruz’s attack — although his shooting skills are likely a link to his ROF membership.

“I’m not trying to glorify it, but he was pretty efficient in what he did,” Jereb told the Daily Beast. “He probably used that training to do what he did yesterday. Nobody I know told him to do that, he just freaked out.”

ROF describes itself on its website as violent.

“We will stand our ground against all who attack us. Those who attack us better know what they are doing. If your (sic) a military aged man and we believe you can cause us great bodily harm, We will do everything in our power to make you no longer be a threat, Which will probably involve us killing or hospitalizing you. Best bet is to fight us with your words if you disagree with us. But if you want to get violent and put your hands on us, That works in our favor. We can always use practice.

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“We will use all tools at our disposal to advance our objectives, But our first priority is to exercise what rights we have under the law.”

Jereb suggested to the Daily Beast that Cruz’s attack may have stemmed from a hatred of Jews or women.

“There’s a very real sense of feminism being a cancer. That could’ve played into what he did, but we have female members of ROF,” Jereb told the outlet. He also noted that the group is “not a big fan of Jews. I think there were a lot of Jews at the school that might have been messing with him.”

Scott Israel, sheriff of Broward County, said that authorities could not confirm at this time whether Cruz is or is not linked to the group, multiple media outlets reported. A clear motive has not yet been established.

At least one of the victims reportedly attended a Jewish summer camp, and one of the teachers who was killed was a counselor at a predominantly Jewish summer camp. Another victim, Joaquin Oliver, was an immigrant from Venezuela who arrived in the United States as a toddler.

Cruz, 19, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon. He pulled the fire alarm to lure his victims out of their classrooms. The attack began at 2:19 pm and Cruz was not taken into custody until 3:41 pm. During that time, Cruz ditched his vest and AR-15 rifle and blended in the crowd of students who were fleeing the building. He left the campus and made stops at a local Walmart and McDonald’s. Authorities eventually found him walking on the street and arrested him.

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