Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting

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Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting
Johnson County Kansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Overland Park Highlighted.svg
Location of Overland Park within the state of Kansas.
Location Overland Park, Kansas, U.S.
Date April 13, 2014
c. 1:00 p.m.–c. 2:45 p.m.
Attack type
Spree shooting, hate crime
Weapons
Deaths 3
Suspected perpetrator
Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., 73
Motive Extremist White supremacist beliefs

On April 13, 2014, a pair of shootings committed by a lone gunman occurred at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, both located in Overland Park, Kansas. A total of three people were killed in both shootings. The suspected gunman, described as a man in his seventies,[5][6] was taken into custody.[7]

The suspect was later identified as 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr. of Aurora, Missouri, originally from North Carolina. He was a Neo-Nazi and former political candidate.[8]

Shootings[edit]

The shootings began at around 1:00 p.m. (CDT) at a rear parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, near the entrance to the White Theater. The gunman first fired a handgun at two men. One of the men managed to escape immediately, while the second man tried to flee in his car. A bullet struck the shoulder bag of the man's seat, but he escaped uninjured.[9] The shooter then fired at two males, 69-year-old[10] Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, who were hit by gunfire as they pulled into the parking lot inside their car. Corporon died at the scene of a shotgun wound to the head, while Underwood died of handgun wounds at a hospital.

During the time of the first shooting, teenagers were inside the building auditioning for KC Superstar, a singing competition.[6] In addition to that, actors, crew members, and other staff were in the White Theater preparing for a 2:00 p.m. performance of To Kill a Mockingbird. The gunman was able to fire several shots into the building. The staff inside the building were the first to make 9-1-1 calls alerting the police. After firing at several other people, but missing, the shooter fled in his car and opened fire at Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community located a little more than a mile away from the community center.[11] A woman, Terry LaManno, was killed in the parking lot,[3][6] and two other people were shot at, but the gunshots missed both people.

The gunman was arrested at 2:45 p.m. outside Valley Park Elementary School by two police officers who identified him in his car using tips given by witnesses. As he was led away, he made antisemitic remarks, according to witnesses. A police official confirmed that the gunman used a Remington Model 870 shotgun in the shootings, and several other weapons, including a handgun, were also recovered from his car. Investigators were also determining whether an assault rifle was also used.[1][2][12][13][14] In a press conference, the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated that it was "determined" that the motivation for the shootings was antisemitism.[4][15] Several items were seized from the suspect's home in Aurora, Missouri, including three boxes of ammunition, a red shirt with a swastika symbol, antisemitic publications (such as Mein Kampf written by Adolf Hitler), a list of kosher places, directions to synagogues, and a printout of the KC Superstar competition at the community center.[16][17][18]

Suspect[edit]

Miller was arrested in connection to the shootings. Prior to his arrest, news reports described the suspected gunman as a man in his seventies who was not a Kansas native. Miller was an Aurora, Missouri transplant from North Carolina, a neo-Nazi self-proclaimed neo-Pagan[19] and former politician who founded and formerly led the Carolina Knights, a paramilitary organization with ties to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1980s, with the organization later being disbanded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, after which he founded another group called the White Patriot Party. In the late 1980s, he was sentenced to three years in prison for weapons charging and plotting to assassinate Morris Dees, the leader and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He previously served in the United States Army for 20 years, which included two tours in Vietnam.[3][8][20][21]

Miller's most recent comprehensive interview was with David Pakman of the nationally syndicated The David Pakman Show.[22] Pakman also appears to be the media figure to most recently have had contact with Miller, having released email transcripts from November 2013.[23] Also, The Distorted View Show[24] previously spoke to the suspect in 2010. In late March, Miller visited an emergency room, was diagnosed with emphysema, and was told he had a 50 percent chance of living three additional years.[25] According to a November 15, 2014 interview with The Kansas City Star, Miller said he began planning the shootings following the visit. He also added that he believed he would die during the shootings and that he frequently visited the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City prior, including three visits that occurred hours before he first opened fire.[9]

Miller was said by police officials to have purchased the firearms from a straw buyer, which enabled him to avoid going through federal background checks; he was unable to make personal purchases because of the weapons charges he was issued during his arrest in the late 1980s.[4][20] Police later arrested John Mark Reidle, a resident of Lawrence County, Missouri, who purchased the shotgun for Miller at a Walmart store in Republic, Missouri, four days prior to the shootings. Reidle allegedly provided false information on a federal firearms form in order to purchase the shotgun, and was indicted on the charge by a federal grand jury on May 7. In addition to the shotgun, he purchased a second shotgun and a .30-caliber carbine at a gun show for Miller. Reidle faces up to ten years in federal prison.[1][9]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Miller was expected to face federal hate-crime charges as well as state charges.[15] Two days after the shootings, Miller briefly appeared in court by video and requested for a lawyer. He was charged with one count of capital murder in the deaths of William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffin Underwood. Only one charge was filed in their deaths instead of two because they died "as part of the same act". Miller is believed to be the oldest person to be charged with capital murder in the history of Kansas.[26] He was also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Terri LaManno. Prosecutors announced that they have yet to pursue hate crime charges and a death penalty.

Miller made his next court appearance on April 24, during which he was granted a month-long delay, with the next court appearance being on May 29. He is currently being held on a $10 million bond and has yet to enter a plea.[4][27] On May 27, he was also charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder as well as additional counts of aggravated assault and criminally discharging a firearm at an occupied building.[28][29][30] Two days later, Miller's preliminary hearing date was scheduled for November 12.[31]

On October 17, the charges against Miller were amended, and he now faces one count of capital murder for all three slain victims of the shootings. The three deaths were included in the single capital murder charge because all three victims were killed "as part of a common scheme or course of conduct", according to the Johnson County District Court.[26] His November 12 preliminary hearing was postponed Miller's attorneys requested a competency examination. The request was approved by Johnson County District Court Judge Kelly Ryan after he expressed concerns about Miller's ability to assist his attorneys. The approval of the request drew outrage from Miller himself, who allegedly wanted a speedy trial. A hearing was scheduled on December 18 to discuss the examination's results.[32]

On December 18, Miller was found competent to stand trial. Prosecutors announced that they are seeking the death penalty against him.[25][33]

On March 2, 2015, a preliminary hearing began to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.[34][35][36] On March 3, District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan determined that there was probable cause for Miller to stand trial for three counts each of capital murder and attempted murder. An arraignment hearing has been scheduled for March 27.[37]

Miller's attorneys attempted twice to arrange plea bargains with prosecutors, under which Miller would, in exchange for pleading guilty, be sentenced to life with parole while avoiding a possible death sentence. However, on both occasions, prosecutors refused to accept the deal.

At a court hearing on May 14, 2015, Miller announced that he wanted to fire all of his attorneys, insisting instead that he be allowed to represent himself. Over the advice of his attorneys and the judge against such an action, Miller stated that "It's my life and I'll do as I please... The death penalty don't bother me" while adding that, if found guilty, "I'll climb up on the gurney and stick the needle in myself." Ultimately, the judge agreed to Miller's request, on the condition that his attorneys remain as "standby counsel". Upon taking over his own defense, Miller announced that one of the witnesses he will be calling is actor Mel Gibson. At the end of the hearing, a trial date was set for August 17, 2015.[38][39]

Victims[edit]

A 14-year-old boy, Reat Griffin Underwood, and his 69-year-old[10] grandfather, physician Dr. William Lewis Corporon, were killed at the Jewish Community Center. Both were Christians and attendants at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. A 53-year-old woman, Terri LaManno, who was an occupational therapist in Kansas City, was killed at the parking lot of Village Shalom, where her mother resided.[9][40] LaManno was also a Christian who attended St. Peter's Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Initial reports indicated a fourth person who was shot and wounded, but it was later confirmed that all of the people who suffered gunshot wounds were killed.[13][41][42] Including the people shot at but escaping uninjured, only one person targeted by gunfire was Jewish.[11]

Reactions[edit]

 United States: President Barack Obama called the shootings "horrific" and said in a statement, "While we do not know all of the details surrounding today's shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also issued a statement in the wake of the shooting, saying, "I was horrified to learn of this weekend's tragic shootings outside Kansas City. These senseless acts of violence are all the more heartbreaking as they were perpetrated on the eve of the solemn occasion of Passover."[15] Governor Sam Brownback issued the statement: "My heart and prayers are with all those who were affected by today's events. We will pursue justice aggressively for these victims and criminal charges against the perpetrator or perpetrators to the full extent of the law."[43] Other politicians issued statements in which they offered their condolences to those killed in the shooting and decried the antisemitic motivations of the shooter.[44] The Jewish Community Center offered condolences to the victims' families on its Facebook page.[3]

 Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the families of those killed in Sunday's shootings at two Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kansas. "We condemn the shootings which, according to all the signs, were perpetrated out of hatred for Jews," Netanyahu said the day after the attack.[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rizzo, Tony; Bradley, Donald.Missouri man charged as ‘straw buyer’ in Jewish center shootings case, The Kansas City Star, June 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Maria Sudekum (2014-04-13). "3 dead after suburban Kansas City shooting - Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Shootings at Jewish centers in Kansas leave 3 dead". Usatoday.com. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Suspect in Overland Park shootings faces two types of murder charges". KansasCity.com. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  5. ^ Maria Sudekum, Jim Suhr (2014-04-13). "Kansas Shooting Suspect Had No Record of Violence - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b c "3 killed in shootings at Kansas City-area Jewish centers". CNN.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  7. ^ Maria Sudekum (2014-04-14). "Supremacist ID'd as suspect in Kansas attacks". SFGate. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  8. ^ a b "Kansas Jewish Center Shooting Suspect Identified as Former KKK Leader - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  9. ^ a b c d "F. Glenn Miller Jr. talks for the first time about the killings at Jewish centers"
  10. ^ a b Phillip, Abby. "Suspect in Kansas City shootings will face hate crime charges". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  11. ^ a b "Witness of Jewish center shooting chased gunman". KansasCity.com. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  12. ^ "3 killed in shootings at Kansas City-area Jewish centers". CNN.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  13. ^ a b "Man with history of anti-Semitism jailed in fatal shooting of three at Johnson County Jewish centers". KansasCity.com. 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  14. ^ "White supremacist ID'd as gunman in deadly shootings at Jewish centers". Fox News. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  15. ^ a b c "Kansas City shooting suspect to face hate crimes". chicagotribune.com. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  16. ^ "FBI: Jewish center shooting suspect did research before killings"
  17. ^ "FBI search warrant returns show Jewish center shooting suspect did research before killings"
  18. ^ "Documents list items taken from home of Overland Park hate shootings suspect Frazier Glenn Miller"
  19. ^ "Accused Kansas pre-Passover killer is follower of neopagan Odinism". NY Daily News. 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  20. ^ a b "Jewish center shooter 'knocked family to its knees,' relative says". CNN.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  21. ^ "Anti-Semitic violence: We were warned about this". CNN.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  22. ^ Anti-Jewish Racist Candidate Glenn Miller Interview on YouTube
  23. ^ "Glenn Miller Arrested, Suspected of Multiple Murders | The David Pakman Show". Davidpakman.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  24. ^ 0.00 (2014-04-14). "Distorted View Interview With Frazier Glenn Miller, Kansas Jewish Center Shooting Suspect by distortedview on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  25. ^ a b "Supremacist Says He Was Found Fit For Murder Trial"
  26. ^ a b "Charges against Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. amended in Jewish center killings"
  27. ^ "Kansas Jewish center shooting suspect asks court for delay"
  28. ^ "New charges are filed in Overland Park shooting spree outside Jewish centers"
  29. ^ "Suspect in Kansas City Jewish center killings appears in court"
  30. ^ "Suspect in fatal Overland Park shootings charged with trying to kill 3 others"
  31. ^ "Hearing set for suspect in Jewish center deaths"
  32. ^ "F. Glenn Miller Jr.'s preliminary hearing is postponed for competency exam"
  33. ^ "Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty Against Ex-KKK Leader Frazier Glenn Miller"
  34. ^ "DA to seek death penalty for Glenn Miller in killings outside Jewish facilities"
  35. ^ Preliminary hearing for accused JCC shooter begins by Andres Gutierrez and Amy Hawley, KSHB (KSHB Kansas City), March 2, 2015.
  36. ^ Witnesses testify against white supremacist charged in Kansas murders by Kevin Murphy, Reuters, March 2, 2015.
  37. ^ Judge orders white supremacist to stand trial in Kansas killings by Kevin Murphy, Reuters, March 3, 2015.
  38. ^ F. Glenn Miller Jr. takes over his own defense in Jewish center killings by Tony Rizzo, Kansas City Star, May 14, 2015.
  39. ^ Judge Rules Accused JCC Shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Can Represent Himself by Elle Moxley, KCUR-FM May 14, 2015.
  40. ^ Allison Long (2014-04-15). "Federal hate-crime charges, state charges likely in Overland Park shootings". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  41. ^ McCallister, Laura. "Man yells 'Heil Hitler' after fatally shooting 3 at Jewish sites". KCTV5. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  42. ^ http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/doctor-grandson-among-those-killed-in-attacks-on-kansas-jewish-centres-1.1774077 Doctor, grandson among those killed in attacks on Kansas Jewish centres, The Associated Press (reprinted by CTV news), April 13, 2014.
  43. ^ Helling, Dave (2014-04-14). "Shooting reaction: Senseless, tragic UPDATED". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  44. ^ "Netanyahu sends condolences to families of Kansas Jewish center shootings | JPost | Israel News". JPost. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-23.