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JCC Shooting Suspect Could be Charged Tuesday

Peggy Lowe

The southwest Missouri man who allegedly killed two Methodists and a Catholic near the Jewish Community Center on the eve of Passover is expected to be charged with federal and state crimes on Tuesday.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., will be charged with hate crimes, authorities said Monday. Cross was “on the radar” of the FBI for some time, but was not being monitored before he opened fire on Sunday at two locations, said Special Agent Michael Kaste.

“A hate crime is a traditional crime, usually murder, arson vandalism, but the difference is they are motivated by bias,” Kaste said.

While authorities wouldn’t comment on reports that Cross yelled “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, he has long been known as a Ku Klux Klansman and for trying to promote his rabid racism through politics.

Cross will be charged in federal court and in local court, said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and District Attorney Steve Howe.

Credit (Johnston County District Attorney)
Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, of Aurora, Mo., the suspect in the shootings near the Jewish Community Center on Sunday.

“It’s our belief that based upon these horrific acts, that either one of us would be derelict in our duty if we did not look to every arrow in our quiver,” Grissom said.

Meanwhile, the victims’ families were planning funerals during Holy Week, a traditionally sacred time leading up to Easter. Monday marked the Jewish holiday of Passover, the beginning of eight days of celebrations.

The victims "happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time" and had "a firsthand encounter with evil,” Grissom said.

Two of the victims were from the same family. High school student Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, and his grandfather, William Corporon, 69, both Methodists, were outside the Jewish Community Center and planning on going to a singing competition when they were shot and killed a little after 1 p.m. on Sunday.

“It was a horrible act of violence,” Mindy Corporon told reporters Monday, “and my Dad and my son were at the wrong place at the wrong time, for a split second.”

It was much the same for Terri LaManno, 53, of Kansas City, Mo., a Catholic, who was killed at the Village Shalom assisted living facility, near the community center in Overland Park, as she was visiting her mother.

Outside the LaManno’s brick home in the Holmes Park neighborhood on Monday, the daily newspaper was still in the front yard as friends were stopping by, meeting the bad news inside with food and coffee.

LaManno and her husband, Jimmy, a dentist, would have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary Tuesday. They have three children, Jenny, 26, who is married and lives in St. Louis, Alissa Rose, who attends Missouri State University and shares her mother’s middle name, and Gian, 21, who is a sophomore at Kansas State University.

She was devoted to her family, her parish, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and her job, as an occupational therapist at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, said Brian Fowler, who was a groomsman at the LaManno’s wedding.

“She was just a beautiful loving person,” Fowler said. “Her warm, loving character, her kindness and family. Family meant everything to her.”

LaManno was at the Village Shalom assisted living facility in Overland Park on Sunday to spend time with her mother, Betty Hastings, and two older sisters, who both live in Kansas City. She also leaves behind two brothers, one in Wichita and another in St. Louis.

Lamanno visited nearly every day, not just on Sundays, said Mary Hastings, her sister-in-law. 

"Everything she did was out of love," Hastings said. "She always thought of others and this is an example of that."

At St. Peter’s Catholic Church, where the flag was at half-mast in honor of LaManno, parishioners were mourning her loss and noting that it fell during Holy Week, just before Easter, taking “courage from the promise of Christ’s resurrection,” the Rev. Stephen M. Cook, said in a statement.

A life-long Kansas City resident, LaManno attended Rockhurst University and St. Teresa’s Academy.

Corporon, a physician who moved to the area to be near his children and grandchildren, was taking Underwood to the "KC Superstar" competition, a singing contest for high school students.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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