Nikolas Cruz trained at least once with a paramilitary white supremacist group in Florida known as the Republic of Florida, according to a Daily Beast report.
Republic of Florida (ROF) spokesman Jordan Jereb, a white supremacist militia group, confirmed to the AP that Cruz trained with them and participated in paramilitary drills.
Jareb told the AP that the ROF wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state.
The SPLC reported in 2015 that the ROF joined the League of the South to protest the burning of the Confederate flag at Florida State University.
Prominent LOS leaders, including Brad Griffin, a key organizer, and Michael Tubbs, LOS chief of staff and an ex-Green Beret who stole weapons and explosives from the U.S. Army for the Ku Klux Klan(KKK) in 1987, stood alongside members of the ROF to protest the school's Students for Democratic Society (SDS) recently burning a Confederate flag to protest increased KKK recruiting in the Tallahassee area. Within days, the League and ROF, led by Jordan Jereb, organized a protest that culminated with a tit-for-tat response –– burning a Soviet flag.
According to the same article, Jereb was a very angry man.
“I’m angry. I’m full of HATE,” Jereb wrote on Facebook. “I’m not gonna lie about it. If there were a few hundred clones of me this system would have quite a situation on its hands. That is really how I feel. Is feeling that way a crime? Maybe. But blacks feel the same way and nobody seems to get mad at them for it.”
Jereb, and people like him, elected Donald Trump on a river of racial hate and resentment. Donald Trump has unbound their anger. He has given it permission to rise and be acted upon. Yesterday's tragedy was the inevitable outcome to the hatred he stoked.
Seventeen people now testify to that. Seventeen souls. The blood is on Trump's hands, right alongside people like Jordan Jereb.
(h/t pat_lee via Twitter)
Bonus: Read this ADL report about Jordan Jereb.
Update: I changed the title on this article to "May Have Trained..." because JJ McNab, who is a trusted voice on these things, is skeptical. Start with this tweet and read the thread underneath it.
Update 2: Officials have been unable to confirm any known ties between Cruz and this group. That doesn't mean there aren't any; just that it cannot be confirmed.