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Nation/World

April 15, 2014

Kansas shooting suspect had no record of violence

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Never one to keep his hatred to himself, Frazier Glenn Cross for decades sought out any soapbox to espouse his white-supremacist beliefs, twice running for federal office with campaigns steeped in anti-Semitism.

Yet there’s scant evidence the Army veteran and retired trucker with Ku Klux Klan links ever resorted to violence before Sunday, when authorities say he opened fire with a shotgun and pistol outside a Jewish community center and retirement complex near Kansas City. None of the three people killed turned out to be Jewish.

The 73-year-old Cross, who shouted a Nazi slogan at television cameras when arrested minutes later, has been jailed awaiting charges that investigators said could come as early as today. At some point, a federal grand jury is expected to review the slayings, which authorities now deem a hate crime.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said the victims “happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time” and had “a firsthand encounter with evil.”

The FBI and police have not offered any public explanation for what triggered Sunday’s deadly outburst in Overland Park on the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover. While the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies were familiar with Cross, Sunday’s gunfire was “very random,” the FBI’s Michael Kaste said.

“We don’t really see how this could have been prevented. There’s at least no obvious answer,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and had a considerable dossier on Cross. “He is one of the more frightening characters out there, no question about that.”

A Johnson County jail official reached yesterday by The Associated Press refused to make Cross available and referred inquiries to his attorneys and Overland Park police. The Kansas City Star reported that Cross had been assigned two federal public defenders.

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