UK & World News

  • 14 April 2014, 7:15

Ex-KKK Leader Held Over Jewish Centre Shootings

The man accused of killing three people at Jewish sites has been identified as a 73-year-old white supremacist who was once the subject of a US-wide manhunt.

A doctor and his 14-year-old grandson were shot dead at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Kansas City and a woman was killed at Village Shalom several streets away.

The suspect also shot at two other people but missed.

Frazier Glenn Cross was arrested at an elementary school in the area, and local television channel KSHB said he was heard shouting "Heil Hitler" as he was taken away.

He was booked into Johnson County jail on a charge of first-degree murder.

Cross, who also uses the name Frazier Glenn Miller, ran for public office in 2006 and 2010 on a white power platform.

The suspect was identified by prison officials and other local authorities.

Overland Park police Chief John Douglass, who refused to confirm the suspect's identity, said he had made several statements to police.

But he said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether there was an anti-Semitic motive for the attacks or whether they will be investigated as hate crimes.

"We haven't ruled out anything," he said.

The killings came on the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover, which begins today.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said Cross founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and was its "grand dragon" in the 1980s.

The Center previously sued him for operating an illegal paramilitary organisation and using intimidation tactics against black people.

He later founded another white supremacist group, the White Patriot Party.

An Army veteran and retired truck driver, Cross was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in 1987 after he violated the terms of his bond while appealing a North Carolina conviction for operating a paramilitary camp. 

The two male victims, identified by their family as Dr William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were both Christians.

Dr Corporon had taken his grandson to the community centre so that the boy could take part in a singing competition, family members said, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

"We take comfort knowing they are together in Heaven," the family said.

A shotgun was used in the attacks and authorities are trying to establish if a handgun and assault rifle were also used.

US President Barack Obama said the shootings were "heartbreaking".