JTA – Police in Florida said they found no connection between the Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a far-right paramilitary group from Tallahassee.
The Anti-Defamation League said Thursday that a leader of the group had told them that Cruz had ties to the Republic of Florida secessionist group.
The leader, Jordan Jereb, said that Cruz was associated with the gropup, having been “brought up” by another member, according to the ADL. Jereb also claimed that Cruz had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other members from south Florida.
After news outlets around the nation reported Cruz’s alleged ties, Leon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan told the Tallahassee Democrat that investigative work did not yield any connections.
In a post hours after speaking to ADL, a social media account bearing Jereb’s name said the whole thing was a “legit misunderstanding,” saying they have more than one member named Nikolas.
In a brief phone call with the Tallahassee Democrat, Jereb said there was “No way to put a good spin on all of this.”
“This is a negative situation,” he added before hanging up to speak with ABC News.
Jereb, a self-described “right-wing extremist nut,” faced charges in 2016 after threatening a high-ranking staff member of Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday, investigators say, with an AR-15 and opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring 14. He faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.
At least five Jewish people were among the 17 victims of the school shooting in Parkland.