Three people, including a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather, were killed on Sunday at two different Jewish community facilities in the Kansas City area, and the alleged shooter taken into custody.
Overland Park city spokesman Sean Reilly said two people died at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City campus in Overland Park and one was killed at Village Shalom, which is a retirement community that is several blocks away from the center.
Later that day, the police arrested the suspect in the parking lot, who was identifies as Frazier Glenn Cross, by authorities in Kansas, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center as Frazier Glenn Miller.
Cross, or Miller, a longtime anti-Semite, was being held at a Johnson County detention center on suspicion of premeditated murder in the first degree and was scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon, according to jail records.
According to the law center, Miller has been involved in the white supremacist movement for most of his life. He founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and was its “grand dragon” in the 1980s before the center sued him for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against blacks. He later founded another white supremacist group, the White Patriot Party.
A 73-year-old white supremacist was captured on camera making pro-Nazi comments, shouting ‚Äúheil Hitler.‚ÄĚ The video, which was taken by Kansas City news station KMBC,¬†shows the suspected gunman after he was taken into custody¬†in the parking lot of an elementary school near the scene of the attacks at the Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom assisted living center.
Overland Park police Chief John Douglass said the suspect made several statements to police, “but it’s too early to tell you what he may or may not have said.” He also said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether there was an anti-Semitic motive for the attacks or if they will be investigated as hate crimes. The Jewish festival of Passover begins Monday.
“We’re investigating it as a hate crime. We’re investigating it as a murder. We haven’t ruled out anything,” said Douglass, flanked by a representative of the Kansas City FBI office and prosecutors.
The shooting started at around 1 p.m., as at that time Overland Park police received multiple calls about occurred violence in the area. According to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City Facebook post, “shooting incident” happened near its White Theater entrance, in the parking lot.
The gunman first opened fire behind the Jewish Community Center, killing twi men. Then he ¬†drove to the nearby retirement community, Village Shalom, where he shot and killed a woman or girl. The gunman also shot at two other people during the attacks, but missed them, authorities claim.
The two male victims were identified as Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, a high school freshman, and his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, family member Will Corporon said in a statement. Both were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, reports Reuters.
The killings sent shock waves all the way to the White House and New York, where security was increased at synagogues. President Obama called the shootings “horrific” and said he was staying in close contact with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to provide additional resources, if needed.
“While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking,” he said in a statement.