Police confirm that there are no links between Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz and the Republic of Florida, the white supremacist organization that the media has been claiming Cruz belonged to.
The Anti-Defamation League kicked off the media narrative by reporting the claims of Jordan Jereb, Republic of Florida leader, who said that Cruz was part of his group and trained with white supremacist militants.
This claim was parroted widely in the mainstream media, with outlets including TIME, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast reporting on the Anti-Defamation League’s theory.
However, police ended the media speculation Thursday evening.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office said that “We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter.”
The Associated Press also reported that law enforcement interviewed Jereb and found “no known ties” between Cruz and the secessionist organization.
Jordan Jereb, the leader of the Republic of Florida, confirmed in a series of Gab messages that Cruz was not actually part of his group as he had claimed. It remains unclear whether Jereb was being dishonest or whether he mistakenly identified Cruz as a member of the group, but the fact remains that Cruz never belonged to the organization.
The white nationalist who lied about his connection to the Florida shooter is claiming it was an intentional prank, but also that he was deceived, but also that he was misrepresented, and that by the way he is definitely not a cop!! pic.twitter.com/lnPiesJosN
— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) February 16, 2018
Big League Politics reported critically on the mainstream media’s narrative earlier Thursday, based on a Berkeley-educated Forbes reporter’s claim that Jereb is not a trustworthy source, and based on statements from others that Jereb is not to be trusted on such matters.
The falsity of the white supremacist claim casts doubt on the three “unnamed former schoolmates” of Cruz who told ABC News that Cruz was a member of the group, marched with the group, and was close with Jordan Jereb.
Three unnamed former schoolmates of Cruz have been routinely cited in mainstream news coverage of the shooting to detail Cruz’s past disciplinary incidents in the school system.
The first unnamed former classmate of Cruz to speak to the media — who said that he went to alternative school with Cruz after Cruz was kicked out of high school — claimed that Cruz was fond of guns and that he knew the layout of the high school and what to do in a “fire drill” situation. A fire drill occurred at the school earlier in the day, and students and parents also said that they expected another drill — possibly an active shooter drill — at the school that same day. CBS 4 in Miami, which broadcast the former classmate’s claims, did not provide the former classmate’s name.
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.