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Man accused in Kansas City Jewish attacks is white supremacist

Posted: April 13, 2014 2:31 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2014 2:31 p.m.
 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A gunman opened fire outside of a Jewish community center on Sunday, killing a doctor and his teenage grandson before heading to a Jewish retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.

Police arrested the suspected assailant in an elementary school parking lot shortly after the attacks in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.

A Johnson County jail official says the man accused of killing three people outside of Jewish sites near Kansas City is Frazier Glenn Cross.

The official confirmed that Cross is the suspect in Sunday’s attacks in Overland Park. 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. 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 Sunday’s attacks.

At an earlier news conference, the city’s police chief, John Douglass, said the suspect is in his 70s, wasn’t from Kansas and wasn’t known to area law enforcement. He also said there was no indication that the suspect knew the victims.

“Today is a sad and very tragic day,” Douglass said. “As you might imagine we are only three hours into this investigation. There’s a lot of innuendo and a lot of assertions going around. There is really very little hardcore information.”

Douglass declined to release the names of the victims, citing the need to notify their loved ones first. But the family of the first two people who were shot released a statement later Sunday identifying them as Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood. They were both Christian, and the family thanked members of their church congregation, among other people, for their support.

“We take comfort knowing they are together in Heaven,” the family said. It asked for privacy to mourn.
Rebecca Sturtevant, a spokeswoman for Overland Park Regional Medical Center, where Reat was taken and where he died, said family members said Corporon and the boy were at the community center so that the high school freshman could try out for KC SuperStar, a singing competition for students.

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 are investigating it as a hate crime. We’re investigating it as a criminal act. We haven’t ruled out anything. ... Again, we’re three hours into it,” he said.

Douglass said the suspect first opened fire in the parking lot behind the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Corporon died at the scene and his grandson later died at the hospital. The chief said the suspect then 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, Douglass said.

Douglass said a shotgun was used in the attacks, and that investigators are also trying to determine if a handgun and assault-style rifle may also have been used.

Police officers were also sent to other Jewish facilities in the area immediately after the shootings, the police chief said.

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