Peoria Public Radio Staff
Mon April 14, 2014
'This Was A Hate Crime,' Police Say Of Kansas City-Area Killings
Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:38 pm
(This post was updated at 1 p.m. ET.)
The man who shot and killed three people Sunday near Kansas City will face federal hate crime charges for the attacks at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home, authorities said Monday.
"This was a hate crime," Overland Park, Kan., Police Chief John Douglass told reporters at a midday news conference.
Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is already in jail. The 73-year-old man was taken into custody shortly after the attacks and is accused of premeditated murder.
Cross, as we reported earlier, has been tracked for years by organizations that monitor hate groups. They say he's a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and spent time in prison for weapons convictions and other charges. Jews had long been among those he allegedly railed about.
The three people who died were:
-- Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, an Eagle Scout and member of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.
-- Reat's grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, a physician who had moved to the area about a decade ago to be near his grandson.
-- "Fifty-three-year-old Terri LaManno, a mother who worked at the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired."
Our original post — Suspect In Killings At Kansas City Jewish Sites Linked To KKK — has more background.
The man accused in Sunday's shootings at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home near Kansas City, which left three people dead, is a 73-year-old former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks "hate groups and domestic terrorists."
Frazier Glenn Cross, who goes by the name Glenn Miller, is accused of premeditated murder in the first degree in the shootings in Overland Park, Kan., according to information posted online by the Johnson County (Kan.) Sheriff's Office.
The poverty law center says Cross has served at least two jail terms, including "three years in federal prison after being indicted on weapons charges and for plotting robberies and the assassination of [poverty law center] founder Morris Dees."
Kansas City's KCTV adds that Cross "is a perennial candidate for office, including running in 2006 against then-U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. He ran against Blunt in 2010 when Blunt was elected to the Senate. Cross made headlines in the 2010 campaign for his racist and anti-Semitic campaign ads. Federal law required broadcast stations to air the ads even though they did not want to put such vile rantings on their airwaves."
The Kansas City Star writes that after he was arrested Sunday, Cross "went on a rant inside the patrol car. Though Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass wouldn't say what Cross hollered, a television crew captured him on video while he was handcuffed in the back of the car. 'Heil Hitler,' Miller yelled out, and then he bobbed his head up and down."
"According to police," The Associated Press says, "the attacks happened within minutes of one another. At around 1 p.m. a gunman shot two people in the parking lot behind the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. He then drove a few blocks away to a Jewish retirement community, Village Shalom, and gunned down a woman or girl there."
The wire service adds that:
"Authorities declined to release the victims' names pending notification of their relatives, and the identity of the person shot at the retirement community was still unknown early Monday. However, the family of the first two victims put out a statement identifying them as Dr. William Lewis Corporon, who died at the scene, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, who died at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
"They were both Christian, and the family thanked members of their church congregation, among other people, for their support."
Cross is due in court later today.
Update at 5:30 p.m. ET. Cross Reportedly 'Led Neo-Nazi Group'
Frank Morris, a reporter with member station KCUR in Kansas City, spoke to Sam Taylor, who heads the white supremacist threat department at the SITE Intelligence Group.
Taylor says Cross led a neo-Nazi paramilitary group in North Carolina in the 1980s and has also been "very active online," calling for genocide against Jews and raising money for violent white supremacists.