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Preliminary Hearing For Man Charged In Jewish Site Shootings

Updated, 2:35 p.m. Monday:

An eyewitness to the shootings last spring at Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites told a Johnson County judge Monday she feared for her life when the defendant asked if she was a Jew.

"I knew if I gave the wrong answer, he would shoot me," Maggie Hunker testified.

Hunker had just finished eating lunch with a friend at Village Shalom on April 13, 2014, when she saw a man gun down a woman in the retirement home's parking lot.

That woman was later identified as Terri LaManno.

"She was screaming, 'No, no, no,'" Hunker said.

But the shooter, who Hunker described as a white man with a scraggly beard, left without hurting anyone else. Hunker hid in her car until police arrived. They took her to a secondary scene at a nearby school to identify a suspect.

Hunker says it started to rain, which made the man harder to ID.

"I could not be 100 percent sure because the hair and the beard looked so different soaking wet than it had dry and fluffy," Hunker said.

In court Monday, Hunker said the man she saw shoot LaManno was the defendant, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. 

Cross' lawyer, Martin Warhurst, asked Hunker if she had been brought back in to identify Cross in a lineup.

"I never went to a lineup," she said.

"What about a photo lineup?" Warhurst asked.

No, she hadn't.

"What about take a towel, dry him off a little?" Warhurst continued.

He pointed out it's been 11 months since the shooting, but police had not asked Hunker to identify Cross since she told them she couldn't be "100 percent sure" it was the same man.

"It's not raining in here," Hunker replied. "It's dry."

The original report begins here:

The man accused of killing three people at Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites last spring was back in court Monday. 

The preliminary hearing for Frazier Glenn Cross is expected to take at least two days and could continue Thursday. 

Cross, who sometimes uses the name Frazier Glenn Miller, is facing murder charges in the April 13, 2014, shooting deaths of William Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom. 

Overland Park police sergeant Marty Ingram testified Monday he had just arrived at the Jewish Community Center theater to work off-duty security when he heard "two large sounds," which sounded like shotgun blasts. 

According to Ingram, the glass doors at the front of the theater "disintegrated" on impact but remained in place, so he was unable to see out. He told staff at the Jewish Community Center he believed the facility was "under attack" and instructed them to take cover. 

Ingram said the shooter then fired two rounds from what he believed to be a high-caliber rifle that left the interior doors to the theater bowed. 

A man entered carrying a satchel and informed Ingram and others inside that the shooter had also tried to kill him. 

Later, Ingram attempted to render aid to Corporon and Underwood, who were shot as they pulled into the parking lot to go to a singing competition audition. He then heard reports of a second scene at 123rd and Lamar and transported the eyewitness there.

In their cross-examination of Ingram Monday morning, Cross' lawyer, Martin Warhurst, wanted to know if Ingram was familiar with his department's policies on eyewitness identification as well as law enforcement best practices. 

Ingram testified he wasn't familiar with a National Institute of Justice recommendation to use different types of lineups for multiple witnesses.

Michael Metcalf testified he was at the Jewish Community Center the day of the shooting so his then 14-year-old son could attend an umpire training workshop. The two of them went to the wrong door and were walking around the building when Metcalf heard a loud blast that he said sounded like a shotgun. He told his son to run. 

Metcalf said he saw a man holding a shotgun and held up his hands to demonstrate. He said the man had facial hair and pointed to the defendant, but he told Warhurst he was not asked to make an identification to police that day. 

"These events happens in April of last year," said Warhurst. "You stayed on scene several hours and were readily available to law enforcement. And no one asked you to identify the man with the gun?"

No, said Metcalf. He told Warhurst he couldn't count how many times he had since seen Cross in media reports about the shooting. 

Cross appeared in court in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank. The judge granted his legal team's request to sit unshackled during the proceedings. 

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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