OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - All Americans stand with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday, adding that hate crimes are "an affront" to the nation.
Before an overflow crowd of about 1,300, Holder joined Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several religious and political leaders at an interfaith memorial service at the Jewish Community Center, the site of one of two shootings that stunned the city on the eve of Passover.
Avowed white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, is charged with the killings Sunday of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Cross shouted "heil Hitler" at TV cameras as he was arrested after the shootings.
Cross, a onetime government informer, is also accused of killing Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement complex shortly after the shootings at the Jewish Community Center. Her funeral was scheduled for Thursday. All three victims were Christian.
"Every alleged hate crime, no matter who the intended target, is an affront to who we are ... both as a country and as people. These acts cannot be ignored," Holder said. "Although our hearts are truly broken, all Americans stand with the people of Overland Park, of Leawood, and of Kansas City. We are united in our condemnation of this heinous attack and our commitment to see that justice is served."
Federal prosecutors say there's enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime, but U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, who attended the service, said Tuesday that federal charges were likely a week or more away.
A federal prosecution of Cross in Kansas would come nearly three decades after the U.S Justice Department arranged to temporarily support Cross and his family as part of the government's witness protection program.
Cross, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, served three years in federal prison in the late 1980s, convicted on weapons charges and for threatening a race war. He avoided a longer sentence in exchange for testifying against more than a dozen other white supremacists, including members of a group known as the Order, accused of plotting to overthrow the federal government. Despite his testimony - an act viewed by his peers as traitorous - each of the 14 defendants in the Fort Smith, Ark., trial was acquitted.
Cross faces a state charge of capital murder for the deaths of Corporon and Underwood and a count of first-degree premeditated murder for LaManno's death.