Update as of 11:03 p.m. EDT: Fraiser Glenn Cross Jr., of Aurora, Mo., who was arrested near the scene of the shooting and charged with first degree murder, is reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan and held the title of Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights at one time, ABC News reported. The report cited Southern Poverty Law Center as saying that Cross is also known as Frasier Glenn Miller.
"We have no indication that he knew the victims," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said, according to ABC News. "We're investigating it as a hate crime, we're investigating it as a criminal act, we haven't ruled out anything."
Update, Sunday, 10 p.m.: President Obama released a statement about the shootings that killed three people in Johnson County, Kan., on Sunday. Below is the president’s statement:
"This afternoon we heard reports of a horrific shooting in Overland Park, Kansas. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this tragedy. I have asked my team to stay in close touch with our federal, state and local partners and provide the necessary resources to support the ongoing investigation. While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking. I want to offer my condolences to all the families trying to make sense of this difficult situation and pledge the full support from the federal government as we heal and cope during this trying time."
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A gunman opened fire outside a Jewish Community Center and an assisted-living facility in a suburb of Kansas City, killing three people and critically injuring a fourth.
The Kansas City Star reported that at about 2:45 p.m., authorities apprehended the suspect outside Valley Park Elementary, located about a mile from where the shootings at the community center and the Village Shalom retirement home took place.
According to eyewitness accounts, the gunman shouted anti-Semitic epithets while he was being led into a police squad car. USA Today reports that the suspected shooter yelled “Heil Hitler!” as he was taken away in handcuffs.
The man who was taken into custody was described as someone in his 70s. He is believed to have had in his possession a shotgun and possibly a handgun and assault rifle, according to KSHB. Investigators said it was too early to label the incident a hate crime.
One of the victims was shot to death in the Jewish Community Center parking lot, and another was killed outside Village Shalom. The third was shot at the center and died later at the hospital. Reports indicate that a fourth person, a 14-year-old boy, was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
“My son and I were walking into the Jewish Community Center this afternoon for an umpire clinic, around the west side, and all of the sudden we heard a gunshot, a pretty loud gunshot,” Mike Metcalf, an area resident who saw the shooter, told Fox News. “I turned to look to my right and I can see a man standing outside a car with a shotgun, what to me looked like a shotgun, and there was somebody laying on the ground.”
Photos and breaking news announcements regarding the Jewish Community Center shooting quickly made their way to Twitter.
— WSVN-TV (@wsvn) April 13, 2014
Suspect taken into custody after shooting at Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/ZCYmcNYcsx
— Mikaela Bufano (@MikaelaBufano) April 13, 2014
— Inside Police News (@InsidePolice) April 13, 2014
— 41 Action News (@41ActionNews) April 13, 2014
The Jewish Community Center members also posted frequent updates about the event on social media.
“There has been a shooting incident at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City near the White Theatre entrance,” the center confirmed via Facebook earlier today. “The police are currently on the scene. We will post more information as it becomes available to us. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.”
During the time that the shooting took place, a high-school singing competition was underway at the center. A production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was scheduled for later in the day. Around 60 to 75 people were on the premises.
After an employee informed them that there had been a shooting outside, those who were inside the center at the time of the shooting were quickly escorted into a room where auditions for the singing competition were taking place.
They remained on lock down for about an hour and a half while investigators looked for evidence outside.
“They did a great job,” Leawood resident Jeff Nessel, who was at the community center at the time of the shooting, told the Kansas City Star. “It was not a panic, it was ‘We have a procedure here, let’s follow it,’” he said.