Frazier Glenn Cross is led to a police car after his arrest
following the shootings REUTERS/KCTV5
The suspect in the Passover Eve killings of three people
at two Jewish community centres near Kansas City is a former Ku
Klux Klan leader with history of spewing vitriol against Jews,
law enforcement officials say.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, faces local and federal prosecution
on hate crime charges after his arrest on Sunday (local time)
for a shooting spree that killed a teenager and his
grandfather outside a Jewish community centre, and a woman
visiting her mother at a nearby Jewish retirement home.
Both facilities are in Overland Park, Kansas, an upscale
suburb outside Kansas City, Missouri. It was a bitter irony
noted by many in the area that none of the victims was
Jewish. The boy and his grandfather were members of an area
Methodist church and the woman attended a Catholic church.
Cross, of Aurora, Missouri, had a prior criminal history and
was known by law enforcement and human rights groups as a
former senior member of the KKK movement and someone who had
long made public comments against Jewish people, according to
"Yesterday's attack ... strikes at the core fundamental
freedoms ... of how our country was founded and what we live
by every single day," said FBI agent Michael Kaste. "We've
now determined that the motivation behind this was a hate
crime. The acts that this person committed were the result of
beliefs ... that he had."
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and US Attorney
for the District of Kansas Barry Grissom said they were
collaborating on charges in local and federal courts.
Both the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate
group, and the Institute for Research and Education on Human
Rights (IREHR) have tracked Cross, who also goes by the name
Frazier Glenn Miller, for years. The groups say he was
involved in creating an armed paramilitary organization in
North Carolina 20 years ago.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said Cross was a "raging
anti-Semite" who has posted online rantings that include "No
Jews, Just Right." And the IREHR said he idolided Adolf
"His worship for Hitler and Hitlerism is real," said Leonard
Zeskind, president of IREHR, in a statement issued Monday.
The shootings started around 1pm at the Jewish Community
Center of Greater Kansas City.
High school student Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, was with his
grandfather, 69-year-old William Corporon, outside the Jewish
Community Center when attacked. The teenager was at the
center to audition for a singing competition, according to
family member Will Corporon.
The grandfather died at the scene and the boy died later at a
hospital, police said.
The shooter then drove a little more than a mile (1.6 km)
away to the Village Shalom retirement community and fatally
shot 53-year-old Terri LeManno, police said. LeManno was an
occupational therapist and married mother of two children and
was making a regular visit to her mother who lived at the
retirement facility, police said.
It appeared the gunman had used a shotgun and possibly other
firearms, police said.
Kaste said the FBI had been aware of Cross and his background
but was not monitoring him and had no warnings of the
attacks. He said that it did not matter that the victims were
not Jewish because hate crime violation are tied to the
biases and beliefs of the suspect that motivate the crime,
not the identities of the victims.
The FBI believes Cross acted alone, but is still
investigating, Kaste said.
President Barack Obama offered condolences and called the
The Jewish Community Center, known locally as "The J" is a
popular recreational and educational spot for many families
throughout the area, Jewish or not. It is also the site of
Kansas City's only Jewish community day school, the Hyman
Brand Hebrew Academy.
"Everybody is shocked that it would happen here," said Rabbi
David Glickman, of the Beth Shalom synagogue in Overland
Park. "This is a community that enjoys very strong and
positive relations between the Jewish community and the rest
of the community."
The Kansas City area's Jewish community numbers about 20,000.