Shootings at two Jewish centers, carried out by at least one suspect who was heard to shout “Heil Hitler!” as he was taken into custody, killed three people in Overland Park, Kansas on Sunday.
According to Overland Park police, shots were fired at two locations, both affiliated with Jewish organizations — the Jewish Community Center at 5801 W 115th St. in Overland Park, and at a Jewish retirement home, Valley Shalom, at 5500 W. 123rd. The two Jewish centers are about a mile apart.
From initial reports it was unclear whether more than one gunman carried out the shootings, traveling between the two locations, or if two or more shooters were involved, but police took one man into custody at the retirement home. That was the man, pictured above, who shouted the Nazi “Heil Hitler!” slogan as he was being captured.
The suspect also smiled and made anti-Semitic remarks as he was being led away, witnesses said. According to a witness who lived in the Jewish retirement facility, when police descended on Valley Shalom, they surrounded a white car in the parking lot.
According to a report on Kansas City’s Channel 41, a witness who was shot at but not hurt in the parking lot at the Jewish Community Center said that shooter was a different man from the individual taken into custody.
“I thought he was shooting an air rifle and all the sudden he shot at me,” Jewish Community Center member Mark Brodky told a Channel 41 photographer. But whether or not that was the same “Heil Hitler!” shouting, heavyset man taken into custody at the Valley Shalom retirement home down the street is not confirmed.
FBI agents are now on the scene investigating the shootings, according to FBI spokesman Joel Sealer.
The Jewish Community Center shooting happened at about 1 pm Central Daylight Time, in a theater inside the Jewish center building. The theater was filled with about 75 people, mostly children auditioning for KC Superstar, a local American Idol style talent competition, as well as a play based on the novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
A 14-year-old boy was reported to be in critical condition at a nearby hospital. In the confusion of the Jewish center shootings aftermath, it was not clear if that boy had passed away and was one of the three reported dead, or if he was a fourth victim.
“There were tons of kids because this was about to start at 1 o’clock,” said Ruth Bigus, a spokesperson for the KC Superstar event.
As of about 3:45 Central Time, both the Jewish Community Center and the Valley Shalom retirement facility remained locked down following the shootings.
Overland Park Police have scheduled a press conference for 5 pm Central Time to discuss information on the Jewish center shootings. The Inquisitr will carry updates to the developing story as soon as further information becomes available.
Image via KSHB TV