OVERLAND PARK, Kansas, (Reuters) – Three people, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed yesterday at two different Jewish community facilities in a Kansas City-area suburb, and a man was in custody as police investigated whether the shootings were anti-Semitic, authorities said.
Police said it was too early to determine a motive, but they were not ruling out the possibility that the shootings were a hate crime.
“We know it’s a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said in a news conference. The FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, he said.
The shootings started around 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. Two males were shot in a parking lot outside the center, one dying at the scene and the other later at a hospital, police said.
The shooter then drove just a mile (1.6 km) away to the Village Shalom retirement community that provides skilled nursing services for residents and fatally shot a female there, Douglass said.
The two male victim were a 14-year-old high school freshman and his grandfather, according to Glen Shoup, an executive pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, where the two were members. The church announced their deaths in services on Sunday evening.
Two other people were shot at, but not hit, the police chief said. He said it appears the shooter used a shotgun and possibly other types of guns.