Three people were gunned down in a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home outside Kansas City Sunday, the day before the beginning of Passover. The Man apprehended at the scene of the crime by police officers shouted “Heil Hitler” at onlookers, according to a local news station.
The victims were killed around 1:00 pm in the suburb of Overland Park. Two males, reportedly a grandfather and grandson were killed with a shotgun at the Jewish Community Center after which a woman was killed at Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community located nearby. Two other people were fired upon but were unhurt.
The apprehended suspect was described according to initial reports as a 71-year-old man carrying multiple firearms and wearing a long beard. A chaplain with the Overland Police Department told reporters that the suspect specifically targeted his victims based on their religious affiliation, asking about people’s religious views before shooting them. While this fact and the reported anti-Semitic slur seem to paint the murders as being motivated by anti-Semitism, officials have stated that it is still too early to determine.
Passover begins on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days, depending on geographic location.
Karen Aroesty, the St. Louis regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, explained that her organization had issued a security bulletin to its contacts, warning of an increased potential for violent attacks during the Passover holiday, which will coincide with the birthday of Adolph Hitler on April 20.