President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke out against the shooting in Kansas City on Monday, as Holder’s office announced that they’d prosecute the shooting as a hate crime.
“This violence has struck at the heart of the Jewish community in Kansas City,” President Barack Obama said Monday.
On Sunday, a gunman shot and killed two at a Jewish community center and a third person at a Jewish retirement home. Police arrested the suspect, 73-year-old Frasier Glenn Cross, on Sunday and plan to charge him with first-degree murder on Tuesday; the Southern Poverty Law Center said. Cross is an alias for Frasier Glenn Miller, who formerly lead a Klu Klux Klan group.Federal investigators announced they would be classifying the shooting as a hate crime, according to the Associated Press, alongside the state’s felony murder charges.
The president stressed the importance of fighting intolerance during his remarks, given at the start of the annual White House Easter Prayer breakfast.
“Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers. No one should ever have to fear for their safety when they go to pray,” he said. “We have to keep coming together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, which can lead to hatred and to violence, because we are all children of God. We are all made in his image.”
Obama noted his personal connection to two of the victims, the grandfather and young boy. Both were members of a Methodist church lead by Rev. Adam Hamilton, who delivered the sermon at the president’s inauguration and at several other White House events.
On Monday, Holder also called for additional resources to be allocated to first responder training, because of the surge in active shooter incidents. During 2000 to 2008, police handled roughly five incidents year; since 2009, that number has tripled. Holder said the Justice Department would be asking for $15 million to train police in responding to these events.
“In today’s world, the first response must often be led, not by SWAT teams or specialized police units, but by the very first patrol officers to arrive on the scene. That’s why all law enforcement officers must have the best equipment and most up-to-date training to confront these situations—to stop active shooters in their tracks, to protect themselves, and to save innocent lives,” he said.