A Kansas Republican congressman said two members of his church were teenage boy and grandfather shot and killed outside of the Jewish community center in Overland Park yesterday.
“I didn’t know them personally, but our entire community feels connected to this family,” Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) told CNN. “This is a suburban area of Kansas City. This is an area of lots of schools and families. And yesterday afternoon when this news came out that this killing had occurred right here in Overland Park just about 12 blocks from my house, it struck all of us personally.”
“I attended church services later in the day about 5:00 where our pastor, Adam Hamilton, at the United Methodist Church of Resurrection informed us that the people who had been killed had not been identified at that time were members of the congregation, usually attend that service, were volunteers in the church and were really just upstanding community members.”
Yoder said not much is known about the third victim, a woman shot outside an assisted living center.
“I will say, standing in front of the Jewish community center, which is a center that serves the entire community. We’ve got a very active Jewish community here with a very active community that attends the center and is involved. The first shooting occurred here, but the second shooting occurred almost eight blocks away at a village for a retirement community that also serves people of many denominations,” he said. “And so we don’t know much about the victim there yet, but we do know that the rampage started here and moved on down the road and took another victim. We’re still trying to learn about what occurred there. But, obviously, it’s something that stunned a lot of us.”
Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, of Aurora, Mo., who also goes by the last name Cross, was arrested in the shootings and was filmed yelling “Heil Hitler” as he was led away. Miller is a former KKK leader.
“We don’t know enough about what his motives are but, boy, his history tells us a lot about what his motives probably were,” Yoder said. “This is an individual that we’re learning this morning had a long history of anti-Semitism, racism, had been the head of several white supremacy groups. He is a Missouri resident, we understand, from several hours away that, as far as we can tell, had no connection to our community here in suburban Kansas City, who drove, apparently, into our community yesterday to commit these acts.”
“Now, to pick the Jewish community center and to pick the Village Shalom, given his background, really tells us these are probably targeted killings and that he had anti-Semitism as his driving force as he arrived here yesterday.”
The congressman said the Christianity of the two Jewish center victims proves “his anti-Semitism hit home to our entire community, no matter what religion you’re from.”
“But it appears to be driven by hate. And I know the FBI is investigating this today… And so we’ll hopefully learn much more in the hours and days to come.”