Nikolas Cruz appears in a police booking photo after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder following a Parkland school shooting, at Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. Broward County Sheriff/Handout via REUTERS.
(photo credit: BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
NEW YORK – The confessed killer in a deadly Florida school shooting last week that left 17 dead, regularly espoused antisemitic, racist and homophobic views via a private Instagram group chat, CNN reported on Saturday.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, who stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with a semiautomatic rifle on Wednesday, would frequently state that he hated “Jews, n*****s, immigrants,” and believed that Jews wanted to destroy the world.
In one tirade against his biological mother, Cruz said: “My real mom was a Jew. I am glad I never met her,” according to CNN.
He also expressed a desire to kill Blacks and Hispanics, and said that members of the gay community should be shot “in the back of the head.”
The Anti-Defamation League said on Thursday
that Cruz belonged to a white supremacist group called the Republic of Florida, after speaking to the organization’s leader, Jordan Jereb.
Jareb, however, later walked back the comments, telling The New York Times
that he did not know whether or not it was true.
Jareb also emphasized that he didn’t know Cruz personally, and that “he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.”
Florida law enforcement officials have yet to confirm if Cruz was indeed a member of a white supremacist group.
“We’ve heard that. We’re looking into that,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Members of the private Instagram group did not appear to be affiliated with a neo-Nazi organization, according to CNN, but offered little push back in regards to Cruz’s comments.
Cruz confessed to the massacre on Thursday
, after he was brought before a judge via video conference at the Broward County court, according to The Washington Post.
Among the dead in Parkland were five Jews – four students and a teacher.
According to informal reports from family members, the media and social media, the following victims were identified as Jewish: students Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, and Alex Schachter, 19, as well as Scott Beigel, 35, a geography teacher who saved students’ lives by closing a classroom door as he was shot.
Guttenberg’s brother, Jesse, managed to escape. Their father, Fred, wrote on Facebook: “My heart is broken... I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this.... Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett sent a condolence letter to the Jewish community in Parkland on Friday
“I was saddened and shocked to hear of the tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” Bennett wrote. “Israel’s prayers are with the victims and their families, as we stand in grief with the State of Florida and all of America.”
He added: “I would also like to convey my sincere condolences to the Guttenberg, Alhadeff, Schachter, Pollack and Beigel families, and to the entire community.”
He ended his letter with the traditional Jewish blessing to those in mourning: “May the heavens send you comfort.”Tamara Zieve and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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