TORONTO (CP) – For years he stood for hate, but in the end notorious white supremacist Wolfgang Droege may have died for love. Police said Thursday they had charged a friend of the one-time Heritage Front leader with second-degree murder and that they were investigating the possibility the two men were involved in a love triangle with an unnamed woman.
“Our investigation to this point has turned up no information that would indicate that the homicide . . . had anything to do with Mr. Droege’s political activities,” said Det.-Sgt. Peter Callaghan.
“One of the pieces of information we have been provided is that (the accused) had been in a relationship with the woman (Droege dated). It’s been suggested to us that that may have played a role here.”
Keith de Roux, 43, appeared briefly in court Thursday and was remanded until Friday.
Callaghan said de Roux was known to police but he refused to provide details.
Droege was gunned down and left for dead in his underwear in the hallway of his east-end apartment Wednesday afternoon.
De Roux was arrested after a tense one-hour standoff at the apartment.
As leader of the neo-nazi Heritage Front, Droege was among Canada’s best-known white supremacists, although associates said he had drifted away from the movement over the past decade.
B’nai Brith acknowledged his death by distributing a report listing a litany of racist incidents they attribute to Droege and the Heritage Front.
White supremacist websites reported the news prominently, although praise was muted.
David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in the southern United States admired by Droege, talked about him on his radio show.
Some of his former associates, however, said he may have been working for police or intelligence services.
“He was dealing in drugs, everybody knew it (but) he was never arrested,” said Don Andrews, leader of the Nationalist Party of Canada.
Callaghan said police had not had an interest in Droege for “quite some time” but would look into “gossip” that he had been a drug dealer.
Droege had a long criminal record that included more than a half dozen convictions for offences such as assault and possession of dangerous weapons and possession of cocaine. He spent two years in an American prison.
As a result, he lost his job as a bailiff in the mid-1990s and was unable to find regular work, turning instead to drug dealing and smuggling, associates said.
Andrew Mitrovica, contributing editor for the Walrus magazine, has written extensively on the white supremacist movement and says Droege was “the real meal deal.”
“He was a racist superstar,” Mitrovica said.
“He was able to give form and structure to the ideology of hate in Canada. His ‘brilliance’ was to attract attention and recruit to his cause.”
The German-born Droege became a Canadian citizen in the early 1970s. He was involved in ultra-extreme white supremacist politics, including Ku Klux Klan activity in British Columbia and Toronto.
He was also involved in an attempt to overthrow the Caribbean island of Dominica in 1981, which landed him in prison.
Droege founded the Heritage Front in 1989 and quickly attracted attention and recruits.
Associate Paul Fromm, said Droege “sacrificed his own well being and financial position for the cause” for almost 20 years.
In 1992, he was expelled from Preston Manning’s Reform party, one of the precursors to the federal Conservative party, because of his links to racist organizations.
Droege reappeared in the news again last summer when Grant Bristow, the co-founder of Heritage Front who was revealed in 1994 as a paid informant for Canada’s spy service, said he took the job because it “was the right thing to do.”
Associates said Droege appeared to have been emotionally shattered at having been duped by someone he had trusted and withdrew, at least publicly, from the cause.
Police said they had not been able to find any information that would help them locate any immediate family.