Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, faces local and federal prosecution on
hate crime charges after his arrest on Sunday for a shooting spree
that killed a teenager and his grandfather outside a Jewish
community center, and a woman visiting her mother at a nearby Jewish
Both facilities are in Overland Park, Kansas, an upscale suburb
outside Kansas City, Missouri. 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 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 the FBI.
"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.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate group, has
tracked Cross, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, for
years. The group said he was involved in creating an armed
paramilitary organization in North Carolina 20 years ago and is a
"raging anti-Semite" who has posted online commentaries that state
"No Jews, Just Right" along with calls to "exterminate the Jews."
Cross is a former leader of both the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux
Klan and the White Patriot Party, groups aimed at the unification of
white people, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He
served time in prison on weapons charges and for making threats
through the mail, the group said.
The Anti-Defamation League said Cross was one of the "more notorious
white supremacists" in the United States in the early 1980s, though
his involvement over the last decade has been on the periphery of
the white supremacist movement.
The league issued a security bulletin to U.S. synagogues and Jewish
communal institutions urging them to review security plans for the
Passover holiday that started at sundown.
The shootings started around 1 p.m. 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 they both were attacked. The teenager was at
the center to audition for a singing competition, according to his
mother Mindy Corporon Losen.
Both suffered head wounds. The grandfather died at the scene and the
boy died later at a hospital, police said.
In a press conference Monday, Losen recounted the last moments she
saw her son alive. The boy was excited to be auditioning for the
vocal competition and sang two songs for his mother before he left
for the community center. One song was "You're Gonna Miss Me When
I'm Gone," Losen said.
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Losen herself drove to the community center later to try to see her
son, not knowing anything had happened. She arrived just moments
after the shooter had fled and found her father dead on the ground
beside his truck and her fatally wounded son lying in the arms of
strangers who were trying to help keep the boy alive.
"It was very unreal and no one should have to go through that," she
said. "It didn't feel like a crime scene to me. It was my family."
The third victim was killed a little more than a mile away outside
the Village Shalom retirement community. Terri LaManno, 53, was
making a regular visit to her mother who lived at the retirement
facility when she was shot, police said. LaManno was an occupational
therapist and married mother of two children, police said.
It appeared the gunman had used a shotgun and possibly other
firearms, police said.
FBI agent Kaste said his agency 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 violations are tied to the biases and
beliefs of the suspect, not the identities of the victims.
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.
"It was a horrible act of violence," said Losen. But "we want
something good to come out of this. We don't know what that is going
The family is waiting to hear if Reat's tissue and organs are
suitable for donation, she said.
"He was with us for a wonderful 14 years. We were very blessed,"
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City and Carey Gillam in
Overland Park; additional reporting by Curtis Skinner and Chris
Michaud in New York; editing by Clarence Fernandez, John Stonestreet, Tom Brown, Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)
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