Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz
Florida school shooter Nikolas CruzReuters

Last week, The Associated Press published claims that the shooter responsible for the massacre at a Florida high school was a member of an obscure, far-right militia movement called the Republic of Florida.

Following last Wednesday’s mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, A member of the Republic of Florida, which proclaims itself “a white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics…and the…creation of a white ethnostate”, Jordan Jereb, told the Anti-Defamation League and AP that the gunman was a member of the ROF, and had been trained by the group in south Florida.

But during their investigation of the 19-year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz, police were unable to find any evidence linking him to the ROF or other white nationalist groups. Cruz, who was charged on Thursday with 17 counts of first degree murder, confessed to the killings.

On Friday night, following the police report denying any link between Cruz to the ROF, AP released a statement admitting that the claims it had published from Jereb were false.

“A white nationalist appears to have lied to The Associated Press and other news organizations when he claimed that Florida school-shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his obscure group,” AP wrote.

“Law enforcement officials have said they didn’t have any evidence to support the claim that Republic of Florida leader Jordan Jereb made in interviews with several news organizations.”

A number of local media outlets also published Jereb’s claims in the wake of the shooting.

While police say Cruz did not appear to have links to any white nationalist groups, CNN claimed on Saturday that the gunman had expressed racist and anti-Semitic views online months before the shooting, writing that he hated “Jews, ni**ers, immigrants”.