Former Klansman kills three in Kansas City Jewish center

NOVANEWS

Witnesses say gunman singled out Jews, yelled ‘Heil Hitler’ upon arrest; Naziyahu sends condolences to victims’ families.

Haaretz

Three people, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed on Sunday at two different Jewish community facilities in the Kansas City area, and a man was in custody as police investigated whether the shootings were anti-Semitic, authorities said. The suspected shooter, who was arrested by local police, was identified as a former Klu-Klux Klan leader from neighboring Missouri.

The shootings started around 1 PM at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park. Two male victims were shot at a parking lot outside the center, where auditions for a musical were taking place. One died at the scene and the other later at a hospital.

The shooter then drove a mile away to Village Shalom, a retirement community connected to the center, where he shot and killed a woman.

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 in Leawood.

Underwood was an Eagle Scout and loved camping and hunting with family, Corporon said. Dr. Corporon had moved to the Kansas City area in 2003 to be closer to his grandchildren.

Two people were shot at, but not hit, the police chief said, adding that it appeared the shooter used a shotgun and possibly other types of guns.

The suspect was taken into custody in the parking lot of a nearby elementary school, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass told a news conference.

A Johnson County jail official identified the shooter as that Frazier Glenn Cross as the suspect in Sunday’s attacks near Kansas City. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Public records show that the 73-year-old Cross also goes by the last name Miller. He 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, jail records show.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says he has long been an outspoken white supremacist and was once a “grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The group reports on its website that it spoke to Miller’s wife, Marge, by phone Sunday and she said police told her that her husband had been arrested in the attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the families of the victims. “We condemn the murder which all signs show, was perpetrated out of hatred for Jews.” The prime minister added that Israel is committed to fight against anti-Semitism.

The FBI has been called in

Police said it was too early to determine a motive, but a leading anti-hate group said the suspect arrested in the shooting was a longtime anti-Semite.

“We know it’s a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption,” Douglass said. The FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, he said.

Douglass said he could not confirm reports that the suspect had yelled “Heil Hitler” while in the back of the squad car after being taken into custody.

“The suspect in the back of a car made several statements,” Douglass said. “We are sifting through and vetting those for accuracy, number one, and number two we are looking at them for their evidentiary value.”

A shotgun was used, he said, and investigators were trying to determine whether a handgun and assault-style rifle also were involved.

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