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State and federal authorities are teaming up to press hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who allegedly killed three people at Jewish centers in Kansas.
Officials made that announcement Monday afternoon, a day after the shootings in Overland Park, in which a Boy Scout, his grandfather and a children’s center worker were killed.
Although Cross is a known white supremacist who has expressed hatred for Jews, none of the victims appears to be Jewish.
Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather, William Corporon, 69, were reportedly members of a Methodist church and were attending auditions for a singing competition at the Jewish Community Center when they were shot.
The third victim, Terri LaManno, 53, was Catholic, and was shot at the nearby Village Shalom, authorities said.
Cross, 73, has yet to be formally charged. He remains in custody.
Authorities said they have obtained statements that led them to conclude that they have enough evidence to prosecute the attack as a hate crime, which carries stiffer sentences. They would not say what those statements were, or who provided them.
The religion or ethnicity of the victims does not matter, legally, in the prosecution of a hate crime, authorities said. What matters is the shooter's beliefs.
Cross is believed to have acted alone in his attack, authorities said. He appears to have had no prior connection to the Jewish centers he targeted.
Although Cross, a vocal and longtime proponent of white supremacist ideas, has served prison time and crossed federal authorities in the past, he was not being monitored by the FBI recently, authorities said.