Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. He was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
The attacks at a Jewish community center and nearby retirement home in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, have stunned members of all faith communities throughout the United States.
Speaking at a prayer breakfast at the White House, President Barack Obama expressed outrage at the incident.
"Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers,” he said.
Obama said the timing of the attack, just before Jews prepare to celebrate Passover, made the tragedy “all the more painful.”
“It’s shocking, it’s horrific, and you just can’t believe that in the year 2014 we are still dealing with things like this,” said Lonnie Nasatir, regional director of the Jewish advocacy group the Anti Defamation League, or ADL.
The suspect in the shootings, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Frazier Miller, is no stranger to the ADL, which has monitored Miller’s activities as a white supremacist for more than 30 years.
“This is a guy who has held hate, and anti-Semitism, and racism in the essence of who he is for well over 40 years, and it’s played itself out in the publications, speeches, or actions, this was a guy who was filled with hate and rage,” Nasatir said.
That background is leading law enforcement agencies to pursue the attack as a federal hate crime, says Overland Park Police Chief John Douglas.
“Because it's a hate crime, we are working with the federal government in a duplicitous roll to seek every venue in prosecution of both state and federal level,” he said.
The ADL’s Lonnie Nasatir says even though Miller had been on the radar of many different groups for a long period of time, nothing he did immediately before the shootings gave any indication of what he was planning on Sunday.
“That’s the arbitrary or randomness of a lot of these people, is that they may wake up one day and say 'this is what I am doing,' and don’t give much thought to it, and get in the car with shotguns and the rest and begin the process of delivering on this really dangerous, dangerous plan,” he said.
Authorities continue to study what led to Miller’s dangerous plan, and they could file additional charges as the investigation continues.