Authorities investigating the killing of three people in attacks on the Jewish community in Kansas City declared they were treating the incident as a hate crime, as a deeper picture emerged Monday of the suspect’s longstanding ties to hate groups.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, was booked into Johnson County jail on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder and is scheduled for an initial court appearance on Monday afternoon. He was arrested on Sunday after a shooting spree that killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather outside a popular Jewish community center, and a third victim outside a nearby Jewish retirement home in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.
US attorney general Eric Holder said he has instructed the Justice Department to provide all available support to state and local authorities. Officials said Cross would face federal criminal charges.
Television crews caught Cross yelling “Heil Hitler” during his arrest after the shooting. But at a news conference on Sunday, Overland Park police chief John Douglass said it was too early in the investigation to tell whether Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, had an anti-Semitic motive. “We know it's a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption," Douglass said.
The incident has brought attention to Cross’s decades-long affiliation with hate groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate movements in the US, said Cross was once the grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He has also been arrested for using intimidation tactics against African Americans, and he has authored a book filled with hateful rhetoric.
Our commenters have told us that racism is almost gone in the US. Yet, we see daily indications that it's alive and well, thriving even. Then every once in a while one of these overt sickos makes himself known. And in spite of all this evidence, the gun-rights fanatics, who apparently take this very personally, insist there's nothing to it.
My question is not whether racism is still prevalent in the US society, that's a no brainer, my question is how prevalent is it. How many white supremacists and Aryan nation maniacs are there. And of them, how many are gun owners?
You see how that works? The percentage of Klan members or Aryan brothers who own guns is a lot higher than, let's say, your Pax Christi members.
This is a problem that cries out for stricter gun control.