Investigating possible ties of Parkland shooter to Tallahassee hate group

Posted at 5:57 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 13:42:24-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - We're learning Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to gunning down 17 people in a shooting at a South Florida school, may have had ties to the Capital City.

Last year, we told you about the Republic of Florida, a white nationalist militia based in Tallahassee.

As of right now, local law enforcement says there are no known ties between the Republic of Florida and Nikolas Cruz. But the group's leader says Cruz is not only a member, but has also trained with them here in the Capital City.

The group's leader, Jordan Jereb, told the Associated Press Thursday he didn't know Cruz personally and that he "acted on his own behalf."

We've just learned a researcher with the anti-defamation league contacted the Republic of Florida and spoke with someone who identified himself as Jereb. He told the ADL Cruz had been part of one or more training exercises in Tallahassee and that he carpooled with other members from south Florida.

Jereb told the AP that Cruz is "solely responsible" for the shooting and the timing of the attack wasn't a coincidence.

He said Cruz had "trouble with a girl," which could've led to a reaction on Valentine's Day.

We've reached out to Jereb and the Republic of Florida and are waiting to hear back. Meanwhile, it looks like the group has removed its videos from its YouTube channel Thursday.

As for what's happening here locally, the Leon County Sheriff's Office says the group has "very few members." Deputies know and have been tracking all of them for years.