The Jewish center shooting suspect, police say, is a white man in his 70s with a beard, and though the shootings took place in Overland Park, Kansas, the man was said to be from out-of-state. Some reports said that he drove a car with Missouri plates.
With the crimes appearing to target people at Jewish-affiliated facilities, coming on the eve of the important Jewish holiday of Passover, the Jewish center shooting is being investigated as a hate crime. Reports that the suspect shouted “Heil Hitler,” a Nazi slogan, and reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks as he was being arrested also would appear to point in the direction of a hate crime against Jewish people.
The shootings took place at two locations, a Jewish community center where the suspect opened fire in a parking lot behind the building, and a Jewish retirement home approximately a mile down the street where the suspect seems to have traveled after killing at least two of his victims at the Jewish Community Center.
It was unclear whether the third victim was killed at the Jewish center, or the Valley Shalom Jewish retirement home. Two of the victims at the Jewish center were a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather who were shot while sitting in a car in the center parking lot. The grandfather died at the scene while the boy perished of his wounds at a nearby hospital.
Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said the shootings were indeed being investigated as a hate crime, though other possible angles were also under investigation.
“We know it was a vicious act of violence, and we know obviously it was at two Jewish facilities,” Douglass said. “So one might make that assumption, but we’re going to have to know more about it before we’ll label it.”
It may be coincidence but the 21st anniversary of the Waco siege, a significant date for far-right, anti-government extremists, occurs in Saturday, April 19, six days after the date of the Jewish center shootings. That date is also the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The following day, April 20, is the 125th birthday of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Though he was reportedly heard to shout “Heil Hitler!” police did not even give the name of the Jewish center shooting suspect, much less say whether or not they believe he is affiliated with any extremist groups who might consider those dates significant.
Image via KCTV 5