A Berkeley-educated Forbes reporter covering the “anti-government extremism” beat for the mainstream publication cast doubt on reports Thursday that alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz trained with a white supremacist organization.
The Anti-Defamation League reported that Jordan Jereb, identified as a leader of the secessionist Republic of Florida group, claimed that shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was part of his organization.
But Forbes‘ JJ MacNab quickly threw cold water on the unconfirmed claim, which is already being parroted by publications including The Daily Beast.
This needs to be confirmed. The problem here is that Jordan Jereb takes credit for a lot of stuff in an effort to gain notoriety, puff up his importance, and collect donations.
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) February 15, 2018
MacNab is not alone in doubting Jereb’s story.
ABC News reported that three former classmates alleged that Cruz was part of the group, but did not name any of the classmates or provide further evidence: “Three former schoolmates of Cruz told ABC News that Cruz was part of the group. They claimed he marched with the group frequently and was often seen with Jereb, who also confirmed to ABC News that Cruz was, at least at one point, part of that group.”
Nikolas Cruz was arrested and stands accused of killing at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he used to be a student.
Cruz was expelled from the school. Law enforcement reportedly arrested him right outside a house near the high school campus, and sources say Cruz might have escaped the school after the shooting by blending in with fellow students.
Cruz’s mother is reportedly dead and he was living with a friend’s family.
The Anti-Defamation League reported:
“Jereb said that Cruz was associated with ROF, having been “brought up” by another member. Jereb added that Cruz had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other ROF members from south Florida…
Jereb added that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting.”
Jereb was reportedly arrested in 2016 for threatening a Governor Rick Scott staffer.
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