Ex-Ku Klux Klan leader charged in Kansas Jewish centre killings
The suspect in the Passover Eve killings of three people at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City is a former Ku Klux Klan leader with a history of spewing vitriol against Jews, law enforcement officials have informed.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, faces local and federal prosecution on hate crime charges after his arrest for a shooting spree that killed a teenager and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center, and a woman visiting her mother at a nearby Jewish retirement home.
Both facilities are in Overland Park, Kansas, an upscale suburb outside Kansas City, Missouri. It was a bitter irony noted by many in the area that none of the victims was Jewish. The boy and his grandfather were members of an area Methodist church and the woman attended a Catholic church.
Cross, of Aurora, Missouri, had a prior criminal history and was known by law enforcement and human rights groups as a former senior member of the KKK movement and someone who had long made public comments against Jewish people, according to the FBI.
"Yesterday's attack ... strikes at the core fundamental freedoms ... of how our country was founded and what we live by every single day," said FBI agent Michael Kaste. "We've now determined that the motivation behind this was a hate crime. The acts that this person committed were the result of beliefs ... that he had."
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and US Attorney for the District of Kansas Barry Grissom said they were collaborating on charges in local and federal courts.
Both the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate group, and the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) have tracked Cross, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, for years. The groups say he was involved in creating an armed paramilitary organization in North Carolina 20 years ago.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said Cross is a "raging anti-Semite" who has posted online commentaries that include "No Jews, Just Right" and calls to "exterminate the Jews."
Cross is a former leader of both the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, groups aimed at the unification of white people, targeting African Americans and others for intimidation, according to the SPLC. He served time in prison on weapons charges and for making threats through the mail, the group said.
The IREHR said he idolizes Adolf Hitler.
"His worship for Hitler and Hitlerism is real," said Leonard Zeskind, president of IREHR, in a statement issued Monday.
The Anti-Defamation League said Cross was one of the "more notorious white supremacists" in the United States in the early 1980s, though his involvement over the last decade has been on the periphery of the white supremacist movement.
The league issued a security bulletin to US synagogues and Jewish communal institutions urging them to review security plans for the Passover holiday that begins at sundown.