OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A gunman opened fire outside a Jewish community center Sunday, killing a doctor and his teenage grandson before heading to a Jewish retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.
Police arrested the suspected assailant in an elementary school parking lot shortly after the attacks in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.
A Johnson County jail official said the accused is Frazier Glenn Cross.
The official confirmed that Mr. Cross is the suspect in the attacks. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.
Public records show that the 73-year-old Mr. Cross also goes by the last name Miller. The Southern Poverty Law Center says he has long been an outspoken white supremacist and was once a “grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The group reports on its website that it spoke to Mr. Miller’s wife, Marge, by phone Sunday and she said police told her that her husband had been arrested in Sunday’s attacks.
At a news conference, the city’s police chief, John Douglass, said there was no indication that the suspect knew the victims.
“Today is a sad and very tragic day,” Chief Douglass said. “As you might imagine we are only three hours into this investigation. There’s a lot of innuendo and a lot of assertions going around. There is really very little hard-core information.”
Chief Douglass declined to release the names of the victims, citing the need to notify their loved ones first. But the family of the first two people who were slain released a statement later Sunday identifying them as William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood. They were both Christian, and the family thanked members of their church congregation, among other people, for their support.
Rebecca Sturtevant, a spokeswoman for Overland Park Regional Medical Center, where Reat was taken and where he died, said family members said Dr. Corporon and the boy were at the community center so that the high school freshman could try out for KC SuperStar, a singing competition for students.
Chief Douglass said Mr. Cross made several statements to police, “but it’s too early to tell you what he may or may not have said.” The Jewish festival of Passover begins at sundown today.
Chief Douglass said the suspect first opened fire in the parking lot behind the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Dr. Corporon died at the scene and his grandson later died at the hospital. The chief said the suspect then drove to the nearby retirement community, Village Shalom, where he shot and killed a woman or girl. The gunman also shot at two other people during the attacks, but missed them, Chief Douglass said.
Mr. Cross was taken to the Johnson County Detention Center. Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe, who attended the news conference along with Barry Grissom, U.S. attorney for Kansas, said it was too soon to know when the suspect would appear in court.
Dr. Corporon, who practiced family medicine, leaves behind a wife of 49 years. His grandson, Reat, was an Eagle Scout who loved camping and hunting with his grandfather, father and brother, the family said.
President Barack Obama released a statement expressing his grief over the attack.
“While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking,” Mr. Obama said. “I want to offer my condolences to all the families trying to make sense of this difficult situation and pledge the full support from the federal government as we heal and cope during this trying time.”
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, in a statement, vowed to seek justice for those who were killed.