Hate crime charges planned after Jewish center slayings – USA TODAY
A white supremacist accused in a shooting rampage that left three people dead outside two Jewish centers in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan., will face hate crime charges, authorities said Monday.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, from rural Missouri, was arrested Sunday and held on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder in connection with the shooting spree.
“We will be filing hate crime charges,” said Barry Grissom, the U.S. Attorney for the district of Kansas. “We are in a very good place from an evidence standpoint, and we will be presenting to a grand jury.”
Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said Cross made some statements to police “that allow us to believe this was a hate crime.”
Douglass said police received 28 9-1-1 calls immediately after the shooting, which helped officers locate the suspect’s vehicle. Two officers approached the car in a parking lot and “told him to surrender, and he did,” Douglass said.
Before being driven to jail, Cross — also known as Frazier Glenn Miller — began ranting while in police custody, police said. A TV news video shows the suspect yelling what appears to be “Heil Hitler!” from the backseat of a police car.
The shootings at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and at Village Shalom, a retirement home nearby, occurred on the eve of Passover, a holiday significant in Judaism.
Among the dead were Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, who had come to the community center to try out for a singing competition, and his grandfather, 69-year-old William Lewis Corporon. Both were white Christians, according to family. The third victim was Terri LaManno, 53, an occupational therapist from a Roman Catholic family who was visiting her mother in the retirement home.
Two other people were shot at but escaped injury.
Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement calling the shootings “acts of violence are all the more heartbreaking as they were perpetrated on the eve of the solemn occasion of Passover.”
“We will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served in this case on behalf of the victims and their families. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by these heinous acts,” the statement said.
Cross, who in 2006 ran a write-in campaign for Congress against Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, has a long history of white supremacist activities in Missouri.
In 1987, Cross was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after violating a court order prohibiting him from operating a paramilitary organization.
Cross and three associates were eventually arrested in 1987 in Ozark during a federal raid of a trailer where authorities found enough weapons “for a small army” after Cross declared war on the U.S. government, according to Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader archives.
Authorities found guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, grenades, crossbows, police scanning radios and $14,800 in cash. A demolition team from Fort Leonard Wood detonated a box that contained 20 pipe bombs, according to the story.
An affidavit for a search warrant for the trailer at the time told agents that Cross was planning on carrying out his declaration of war against federal judges and law enforcement officials.
A copy of his affidavit, mailed to the News-Leader at the time, listed a point system for killing various minorities and government officials. Judges were among those worth the most points.
Cross “planned on executing them with a variety of weapons, including firearms and crossbows,” the affidavit noted.
In September 1987 Cross pleaded guilty to a federal charge of mailing threatening communications and possessing automatic weapons,” according to a News-Leader archive story.
Cross served three years in prison.
In 2002, he moved to Aurora where he began distributing copies of his own racist fliers and The Aryan Alternative, a racist, hate-filled publication that was based in Kirksville, Mo.
In May 2005, the News-Leader published a letter from Glenn Miller that included these statements:
“The fact is folks, Bush and his Zionist Jew bosses not only want more tens of millions of illegal aliens to flood into our country, they do everything they can to encourage it.
“Why? To drown the white race in a sea of color. That’s why.
“The Zionist Jews and their gentile prostitute government managers want to create a one-world government inside a world populated overwhelmingly by mixed-racial, therefore leaderless and easily controlled zombie slaves, forever unable to free themselves — a world void of white people.
“The federal government is the enemy of freedom loving, patriotic white Americans, and every politician in Washington not raising hell about the illegal alien invasion ought to be tried for treason.”
Also, in February of the same year, he wrote: “In other words, of all racial groups, the Jews are singled out for special protection in every country on the globe, whether they are U.S. citizens or not. Including protection from all media criticisms which U.S. government bureaucrats decide are attempts to justify racial hatred.
“So you see, folks, ‘our’ government not only wars against the enemies of Israel in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim women and children, now ‘our’ government will also protect all Jews from public media criticisms in every country on Earth.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., maintains an extensive file on Cross, which it describes on its website:
“One of the first white supremacists to use paramilitary tactics with his North Carolina-based hate group — the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which later morphed into the White Patriot Party — Glenn Miller went on the lam in 1986 after mailing a letter to 5,000 people calling for “total war” against the feds, blacks and Jews.”
In February 2004, the center said, “He announced he would be putting out a new four-page racist tabloid. ‘Since my prison release, I’ve worked for the Cause in the most effective way I know how,’ Miller wrote on the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network, where he vowed to ‘unite, organize, educate, recruit’ against the Jews until ‘death or victory.’ “
Cross’s Aurora, Mo., home of about 7,500 residents is almost 200 miles southeast of the scene of the crimes and 30 miles southwest of Springfield, Mo.
Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, said in a statement that “no community should have to face a moment such as this one.”
“Today, on the eve of Pesach, we are left to contemplate how we must continue our work building a world in which all people are free to live their lives without the threat of terror,” he said.
Johnson writes for the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. Contributing: The Associated Press