Shooting At Jewish Community Center Outside Kansas City Leaves Three Dead

Shawn Bailey

A Kansas City shooting earlier today left three dead, including a teenage boy. Witnesses say the suspect yelled the anti-Semitic remark "Heil Hitler."

The residents of Overland Park, an affluent town just outside of Kansas City, were horrified today as police took an elderly man into custody following the shooting. The man was reportedly around 70 years old and not from Kansas. Although some are hesitant to call the shootings a hate crime so early in the investigation, the shootings took place hours away from Passover at a Jewish Community Center. The bearded man was screaming "Heil Hitler" as the police took him away.

A chaplain for the Overland Park Police Department reflected on the fact that the gunman asked about the victims religious affiliations before opening fire.

"Asking someone if you are Jewish before shooting sounds very much like a hate crime."

Mike Metcalf and his son had walked into the Jewish Community Center when they heard a loud gunshot and saw a person lying on the pavement of the Community Center parking lot.

"I turned to look to my right and I can see a man standing outside a car with a shotgun, what to me looked like a shotgun, and there was somebody laying on the ground."

Another man, Mark Brodky, said his windows were shot out by the gunman.

The shootings took place at two locations. The first shooting was in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center. Two of the victims at this location have died. A disturbing fact was that a large amount of kids from the Kansas City area were near the Jewish Community Center auditioning for a KC SuperStar contest. The singing competition auditions were cancelled as police flooded the area.

The first 911 call came around 1pm from outside the Lewis and Shirley White Theatre where a performance of To Kill a Mockingbird was playing. Teens were rushed to safety inside the theatre.

The second shooting was at a retirement community called Village Shalom in Leawood, Kansas, where a woman was killed. The suspect was later arrested at an elementary school. The suspect, who had Missouri plates, is being held at the Johnson County Jail.

The Jewish Community Center issued a statement saying:

"Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day. Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support."

A vigil will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church at eight o'clock tonight.

Image via KCTV.