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Man arrested in Kansas Jewish community shootings reportedly longtime Ku Klux Klan leader
April 14 at 1:32 am
View Photo Gallery —Three people were shot and killed in suburban Kansas City on Sunday: two at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and one at the retirement community nearby, Village Shalom.
The 73-year-old man accused of going on a deadly shooting spree Sunday at Jewish facilities in Kansas has been identified as a former ‘grand dragon’ of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The shootings took the lives of three people before he was arrested.
Two of those shot were at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. The other was at the Village Shalom Retirement Center. Both are located in Overland Park, Kan., south of Kansas City.
The shootings occurred about 1 p.m. central time a day before Passover, the eight-day holiday in which Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt.
The Kansas City Star said that the gunman fired at five people Sunday afternoon, but he missed two of his targets, who were not injured. Police said the man had not only a shotgun but also a handgun and possibly an assault weapon.
According to the Star:
Matt Davis, who lives near Valley Park Elementary where police arrested Miller, was shopping with his son for a suit for his upcoming bar mitzvah when he heard about the shooting. Davis was outside the school when Miller was hauled off.
The man was smiling.
‘I was wondering, Why is the guy smiling when he’s being arrested,’ said Davis, whose daughter was inside the Jewish Community Center when the shooting occurred in the parking lot. She and the hundreds of other people inside the center were not injured.
Rabbi Herbert Mandl, chaplain for the Overland Park Police Department, told CNN that the shooter was shouting neo-Nazi slogans as he was taken away. Mandl also said he was asking people whether they were Jewish before he fired. And KCTV reported he was yelling “Heil Hitler” during the arrest.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a respected activist organization that tracks hate crimes and racist activities, said the man arrested and identified by police as Frazier Glenn Cross is actually Frazier Glenn Miller. Miller, the SPLC said, founded and ran the Carolina Klan before he was sued by the SPLC “for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against African Americans.”
He later founded another Klan outfit, the White Patriot Party, which put him in violation of the terms that settled the suit brought by the SPLC. He was found in criminal contempt in 1986 and served six months in prison. He moved underground while out on bond and was caught in Missouri with other Klansmen with a reserve of weapons, the SPLC stated.
The next year, he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. He was indicted for plotting to obtain stolen military weapons, and for planning robberies and the assassination of the SPLC founder Morris Dees. As part of a plea deal, he testified against other Klan leaders and received a five-year sentence. He served only three years, the SPLC stated.
In 2010, Miller ran for the U.S. Senate, and in 2006, he ran for the U.S. House, inciting fear among voters when his ads urged whites to “take the country back” from Jews and “mud people,” according to news reports.
Frazier Glenn Cross was booked into the Johnson County jail after 8:30 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of premeditated first-degree murder, according to the booking report.
A public records search shows he has used both names. And in a statement released Sunday night, the SPLC said it was able to identify Cross as Miller after a telephone conversation with his wife, Marge. She told the SPLC Miller had gone to a local casino Saturday afternoon. He called Sunday to tell her his winnings were up.
Police went to her home Sunday night to tell her Miller was arrested for the shootings.
Miller is a longtime anti-Semite. His Web site, with the headline, “Hey Whitey, Why Don’t You And Your Friends Build Your Own White Club? It’s Not Against The Law To Be White, Yet,” features photos of “white power” marches and radio interviews.
During a segment on an African American radio talk show, he told the host: “I just started [Carolina Knights] with three men … and by the time they threw me in prison six years later, I had built the largest white activist organization in the United States with over 5,000 strong.”
According to the SPLC, Miller claimed he read his first racist newspaper, called The Thunderbolt, in the 1970s. According to Miller, within two minutes, he knew he “had found a home within the American White Movement. I was ecstatic,” the SPLC reported.
Family members of two of the three people killed in Sunday’s shootings have identified them.
Will Corporon issued a statement saying his father, Dr. William Lewis Corporan, and nephew, 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood, were killed outside the community center in Overland Park, The Associated Press reported. Both victims were Christian.
Police haven’t released the name of a woman or girl who was killed minutes later in an attack at a Jewish retirement community a few blocks away.
“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,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking.”
Lindsey Bever is a national reporter for The Washington Post. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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