A suspect was arrested today after three people were killed in shootings that took place at the Jewish Community Center as well as a local senior assisted living center in the Kansas City, MO, suburb of Overland Park, KS.
The shootings began about 1 p.m. Central time today and occurred in the parking lots at both the JCC and the Village Shalom retirement center, which is about a mile south of the JCC. Two other people were shot at, but the gunman missed them, and they were not injured.
The two victims killed in the JCC parking lot were 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood and his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, multiple reports confirmed. Both were members of a nearby church. The victim at the senior center was later identified by media outlets as Terri LaManno, whose mother is a resident at Village Shalom. None of the victims were Jewish.
The suspect, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., aka Frazier Glenn Miller of Aurora, MO, was arrested at a local elementary school at around 2:45 p.m. He was booked tonight in Johnson County (KS) jail on suspicion of premeditated first-degree murder but was not immediately charged, The Kansas City Star reported.
Police are calling this a hate crime. Numerous media outlets reported that the suspect yelled "Heil Hitler," as he was taken into custody. Miller reportedly has a history of anti-Semitic statements and has ties to white supremacist groups. The Jewish holiday Passover begins Monday night.
Several people were inside the JCC theater auditioning for the KC SuperStar contest, The Star reported. It is not known how many people were in the fitness center of the JCC at the time of the shootings, but the Star reported about nine kids, six parents and 12 volunteers were participating in "Fun and Fitness with Friends," a weekly program for children with autism.
In a message posted on its Facebook page this afternoon, the JCC of Greater Kansas City said none of the shootings occurred inside the JCC. Those participating in programming at the JCC were sent home after the shootings. The JCC campus will be closed Monday.
"Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day," the statement from the JCC said. "Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support."
The Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCCA), New York, posted a statement on its Facebook page tonight.
"We want to extend our deepest sympathy to those who lost loved ones today at the Jewish Community Campus in Overland Park, Kansas City," the statement from the JCCA said. "Our hearts are heavy at this news that both a JCC and a nearby Jewish assisted living home were targeted. The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City is a vibrant center of Jewish life in Kansas City. Committed to engaging Jews of all ages, on any given day is a 'home away from home' for young and old alike, filled with classes and activities that make each day a better one for those who pass through its doors. We are so sorry that someone has violated that sense of mission and purpose."