What Is the Republic of Florida? Alleged School Shooter Nikolas Cruz Linked to White Supremacist Group

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people during Wednesday's shooting at a Florida high school, trained with the white supremacist group the Republic of Florida, according to the Anti-Defamation League. An ROF spokesman, Jordan Jereb, told the ADL Thursday that Cruz had been a member of his group.

A discussion on the forum 4chan also described Cruz as a member of the ROF.  

A 2015 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center described Jereb as the leader of the ROF and said that he and a group of high school friends had spent months posting numerous videos warning of a “tyrannical global power running the world.”

Jereb has described himself as a “right-wing extremist nut.” He was charged in 2016 for having threatened a staff member of Florida Governor Rick Scott. He is believed to be around 22 years old.  

Jereb has been known to ride a bike through Florida neighborhoods wearing paramilitary garb. He has said that the Republic of Florida wants to secede from the United States. 

Three former classmates told ABC News that Cruz was seen with Jereb and was part of the ROF. Jereb told the ADL that his group had not ordered Cruz to shoot up the school.

The ROF is known to have young, white, male members and to promote violence, such as gun ownership and knife fighting. The group has also been linked with the far-right League of the South.

Cruz was a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where Wednesday's mass shooting occurred.