This photo provided by the Broward County Jail shows Nikolas Cruz. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. (Broward County Jail via AP)
(Meredith / AP) — The leader of a white nationalist militia said the Florida school shooting suspect was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee, but police aren't convinced this is true. After several news outlets, including the Associated Press, reported that the shooting suspect's alleged connection to a white supremacy group, police spoke with the Tallahassee Democrat.
Police said they are investigating the shooter's reported connection to the group, The Republic of Florida militia (ROF), but have found little to suggest he's one of the group's dozen or so members.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports a social media post from the ROF's leader Jordan Jereb said it was all a "legit misunderstanding."
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."
The Tallahassee Democrat said Jereb has a history of attention-seeking behavior. In 2014, he even reportedly complained that the ROF "was not already listed as a hate group" on the news site.
Jereb told The Associated Press on Thursday that his group wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. He said his group holds "spontaneous random demonstrations" and tries not to participate in the modern world.