(CNN, April 14, 2014) — A man with a history of spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric is suspected of shooting to death a boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center near Kansas City, Kansas, and a woman at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility.
Police say Frazier Glenn Miller is the suspect in the shootings. He is the founder and former leader of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Both organizations operated as paramilitary groups in the 1980s, according to the SPLC.
Investigators have determined that the shootings could be a hate crime, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said at a Monday news conference.
Miller, 73, also goes by Frazier Glenn Cross. He faces charges of premeditated first-degree murder. He is expected to appear in court Monday.
A U.S. law enforcement official said Monday that Miller got firearms from a straw buyer. That means he didn’t go through federal background checks to obtain the three guns that officials said he had when he was arrested Sunday.
After he was apprehended at a nearby elementary school, Miller sat in the back of a patrol car and shouted “Heil Hitler!” video from CNN affiliate KMBC shows.
Barry Grissom, the U.S. attorney for Kansas, told reporters Monday that he has “received communications” from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressing Holder’s “concern and condolences.”
“We are in a very good place from an evidence standpoint of moving forward with this case and we will be presenting it to the grand jury in the not-too-distant future,” Grissom said.
If the suspected shooter is charged and convicted of a hate crime, under federal law, the death penalty could be on the table. That would apply if the charge is that the defendant was motivated by the victims’ “race, color, religion or national origin.”
The shootings took place at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and the Village Shalom Retirement Community in Overland Park a day before the start of Passover, the major Jewish spring festival.
“The timing is terrible. The timing is awful,” said Rabbi Herbert Mandl, a chaplain for the Overland Park police.
In all, the gunman shot at five people, none of whom he’s believed to have known, Douglass said. There were no other injuries, authorities said.
Police were investigating statements the man made after his arrest but declined to provide additional details, Douglass said.
The Anti-Defamation League said it warned last week of the increased possibility of violent attacks against community centers in the coming weeks, “which coincide both with the Passover holiday and Hitler’s birthday on April 20, a day around which in the United States has historically been marked by extremist acts of violence and terrorism.”
On Monday, the ADL reissued a security bulletin to synagogues and Jewish communal institutions across the country, urging them to review their security plans for the Passover holiday, which begins at sundown Monday.