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White supremacist ID'd as gunman in deadly shootings at Jewish centers

 

The man who allegedly killed three people when he opened fire outside a Jewish community center and nearby retirement community in a Kansas City suburb Sunday is reportedly a 73-year-old Missouri man with a history of racist and anti-Semitic activity, and authorities are investigating the shootings as a hate crime.

A Johnson County (Kan.) jail official told the Associated Press that authorities had identified the suspect in the shooting in Overland Park as Frazier Glenn Cross, aka Frazier Glenn Miller. 

The Kansas City Star reported that Miller was booked into the Johnson County jail on suspicion of premeditated first-degree murder Sunday evening, but had not been formally charged. Authorities say they expect to have more information available on possible charges Tuesday. The paper reported that public records showed that Cross is a resident of Aurora, Mo., a small town southwest of Springfield. 

A dispatcher with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department told the Star Sunday that local authorities were working with Johnson County authorities and the FBI. A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Frazier Glenn Miller told the paper she did not know where he was and then started to cry. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 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.

According to the law center, Miller has been involved in the white supremacist movement for most of his life. He founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and was its "grand dragon" in the 1980s before the center sued him for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against blacks. He later founded another white supremacist group, the White Patriot Party.

Miller, an Army veteran and retired truck driver, was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in 1987 after he violated the terms of his bond while appealing a North Carolina conviction for operating a paramilitary camp. The search ended after federal agents found Miller and three other men in an Ozark mobile home, which was filled with hand grenades, automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Miller tried running for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010.

At a news conference Monday, Overland Park police chief John Douglass said the shootings are being investigated as a hate crime. Earlier Sunday, Douglass said the suspect was not known to area law enforcement and there was no indication that he knew his victims.

"In the last 22 hours, we learned the acts this person committed were the result of beliefs that he had and that he was trying to hurt somebody based on their ethnicity, race, and religion," said Michael Kaste, an FBI Special Agent in Charge.

The Justice Department plans to file federal hate crime charges against Miller, Fox News confirms. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a Justice Department investigation Monday into the shootings.

Federal hate crimes are acts of violence committed on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability. U.S. law enforcement agencies reported 5,796 hate crime incidents in 2012, according to the latest figure available from the FBI.

The family of two of the three people who died in the shooting released a statement 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 Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City so that the high school freshman could try out for KC SuperStar, a singing competition for students.

On Monday, Douglass identified the third victim as Terri Lamanno, 53, of Kansas City. Douglass said Lamanno was a member of a Catholic church in Kansas City and was visiting her mother Sunday at Village Shalom retirement community -- as she usually did -- when she was fatally shot by the gunman.

Douglass said the suspect first opened fire in the parking lot behind the Jewish community center. Corporon died at the scene and his grandson later died at the hospital. The chief said the suspect then drove to Village Shalom, where he shot LaManno. 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.

"Immediately when we learned we had an active shooter we dispatched vehicles to secure and surveil all the active Jewish facilities in the city and other religious institutions which are not Jewish," Douglass said.

The suspect was taken to the Johnson County Detention Center. Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe, who attended the news conference along with Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney for Kansas, said it was too soon to know when the suspect would appear in court.

Corporon, who was a family doctor, leaves behind a wife of 49 years. His grandson, Reat, was an Eagle Scout who loved camping and hunting with his grandfather, father and brother, the family said.

President Barack Obama released a statement expressing his grief over the attack, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

"My heart and prayers are with all those who were affected by today's events," Brownback said in a statement. "We will pursue justice aggressively for these victims and criminal charges against the perpetrator or perpetrators to the full extent of the law."

Jacob Schreiber, the CEO of the Jewish Community Center, said Monday that the "entire community stands united" and the “power of love and community prevails over violence.”

Click for more from The Kansas City Star

Click for more from Fox 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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