This reporting is preliminary, so take that as a caution. That said, there is of course no reason to doubt that there are murderers acting from hatred of Jews in 2014.
At about 1:00 PM Central on Sunday, 13 April, a gunman began shooting at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. The shots were fired in a theater inside the building, where teenagers were auditioning for “KC Superstar.”
A short time later, more shots were reported at the Village Shalom assisted living center not far away in Overland Park.
Reporting as of this writing seems to indicate that there was only one gunman. The suspect was taken into custody at Valley View Park Elementary School, a mile from Village Shalom.
One person is confirmed dead. I’ve seen reports that a second person has died, but other reports still say the injured individual is in surgery.
Here’s what the KCTV5 news crew on-scene had to say about the suspect’s arrest:
KCTV5’s Bonyen Lee says the suspect appeared to yell “Heil Hitler” as he was being led away in handcuffs by Overland Park police.
That would certainly explain the very specific targeting of Jewish facilities.
Passover starts tomorrow. More on this horrific crime as it develops.
**UPDATE**: KCTV5 now bumps the death toll to three. See original link above. Simply awful.
**UPDATE 2**: Local authorities presser at 5:00 PM Central. The Overland Park police chief says the “person of interest” (they’re not calling him a suspect yet) is a white male in his 70s with a beard. He’s not a local resident. No name disclosed as yet. The chief alluded to one shotgun being involved in the shooting spree.
The police had no prior interest in the man, nor does it appear that he knew any of the victims.
The chief wouldn’t comment one way or another about the report that the man yelled “Heil Hitler!” This report comes from multiple sources on-scene, however. Speaking for myself, I consider it highly probable that it will be confirmed.
Three are confirmed dead at this point. Two died on-scene, one at the community center and the other at Village Shalom. The third died at the hospital. I’m not hearing updates on whether there are additional injuries.
Follow-up: I didn’t catch this in the press conference, but Fox just said the shootings at the Jewish community center took place outdoors, rather than inside the theater, as originally reported.
No words can be adequate after an atrocity like this. Six hours ago, it was a time to wish our Jewish friends “Chag sameach Pesach” — a happy Passover holiday. Now there are at least three families who must hear “HaMakom y’nachem etkhem b’tokh sh’ar a’vaylay Tzion v’Y’rushalayim” — for no reason their hearts will ever understand.
**UPDATE 3**: A little more information has come out. I just heard a local reporter being interviewed on Fox News, who said that the suspected gunman had been walking around outside the Jewish community center asking people if they were Jewish. This was according to witnesses interviewed by the local media. The conclusion is becoming inescapable that he committed this attack out of Jew-hatred.
According to the latest update from KCTV5, the man’s car had Missouri plates. There’s no information on where in Missouri he might live. The three fatalities in the shootings were two men, at the community center, and one woman at Village Shalom.
An image of the gunman is going viral: