Jordan Jereb, self-proclaimed leader of the white nationalist group Republic of Florida, appeared eager to claim that the Parkland high school mass murderer was a member of his organization.
He is now claiming that it was all a big misunderstanding. He says he mistook Nikolas Cruz for another Nicholas in ROF.
How the hell do you do that? If Cruz’s last name wasn’t indication enough that he wasn’t a white nationalist, a quick check of the ROF membership roster would have confirmed that he was not a member.
But, to a publicity whore like Jereb, having his name in print and all over the web is much more important than the truth.
When Jereb, in an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, made the claim that Cruz was an ROF member, the mainstream media was giddy with the news and ran with it. Likewise, Democrats shrieked from every available microphone that Cruz was a right-wing white nationalist.
Now law enforcement is reporting that there are no ties between Cruz and any white nationalist group.
From the Tallahassee Democrat
Local law enforcement sources have not found a connection between accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a Tallahassee-based paramilitary group.
Leon County law enforcement sources told the Tallahassee Democrat that they could not find information linking Cruz, 19, to the Republic of Florida Militia, as claimed by the group’s self-proclaimed leader Jordan Jereb.
His comments to the Anti-Defamation League and The Associated Press set off a media firestorm Thursday at about midday that Cruz was connected to the alt-right, white nationalist group.
Hours after news outlets around the nation reported Cruz’s alleged ties, Leon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan told the Tallahassee Democrat investigative work did not yield any connections.
“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter,” Jordan said.
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.
Jereb said Cruz was a member of the group and had participated in paramilitary training drills in Tallahassee.
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.
In a profanity-laced post hours later on a social media site, an account bearing Jereb’s name said the whole thing was a “legit misunderstanding,” saying they have more than one member named Nikolas. He also said he not slept “for like 2 days.”
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.
Jereb is known to ride a bike through neighborhoods wearing paramilitary garb and stand at the side of the road with an ROF flag. He has filmed numerous run-ins with law enforcement in Tallahassee in which he consistently tells officers when he is stopped, “I’m a free man traveling the land.”
Contact Karl Etters at [email protected] or @KarlEtters on Twitter.
STATEMENT FROM THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
The Republic of Florida Militia, a white nationalist hate group we have been monitoring, has claimed the suspect in the massacre in Parkland, Florida, is a member.
We cannot confirm the link between Nikolas Cruz and the ROF.https://t.co/c5gj5qmcL1
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) February 15, 2018
“Jordan Jereb, the leader of the Republic of Florida Militia (ROF), a white nationalist hate group that we have been monitoring, earlier today claimed that Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is a member of his group. Hours after claiming a connection to Cruz, Jereb said he had been misunderstood.
“On its website, the ROF describes itself as ‘a white civil rights organization fighting for white Identitarian politics, And the ultimate creation of a white ethnostate so we can be free from anti-white policies and have policies that reflect our values as white westerners. The ROF Militia is the armed forces of the Republic Of Florida.’
“Jereb initially claimed that Cruz was a member, that he had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, and that he carpooled with other members from South Florida. Though the link was reported by several news organizations, the SPLC has not confirmed it.
“It may seem odd that Jereb would bring attention to his group by claiming a connection to Cruz, but Jereb has always been somewhat of a publicity seeker. In 2014, in fact, he wrote us to complain that we had not already listed ROF as a hate group. In April 2017, Michael Tubbs, the leader of the Florida chapter of the League of the South, a well-known hate group, wrote that Jereb ‘never misses a photo op’ and called him ‘a nut job who should be avoided.’”