Supremacist accused in Kansas attacks has ties to NC
Posted April 14, 2014
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Missouri man accused of killing three people in attacks at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement complex near Kansas City is a well-known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader who has extensive ties to North Carolina.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, ran for governor of North Carolina and for the U.S. Senate in the 1980s under the name Glenn Miller.
After he was forced out of the Army – he was a member of the elite Green Berets – because of his white supremacist activities, he bought a farm in northwest Johnston County and took his message of a race war to the streets.
In 1980, he formed the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a paramilitary group that preferred military fatigues in marches over customary white Klan robes. During his political campaigns, he ran on a white supremacist platform, calling for the creation of a Carolina Free State -- an all-white nation within North and South Carolina.
He was convicted in North Carolina of running a paramilitary group and then went underground, resurfacing several years later in the Missouri Ozarks.
In 1987, Cross was arrested after a nationwide manhunt for violating the terms of his bond while appealing his North Carolina conviction, and he was charged in plots to acquire stolen military weapons. He and three other men were found in a mobile home in rural Missouri that was filled with hand grenades, automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
He served three years in federal prison and became a truck driver after his release. He remained in Missouri and ran for congressional seats there in 2006 and 2010, again on a white power platform.
Cross, who wrote a book called "A White Man Speaks Out," also distributed racist and anti-Semitic literature while in Missouri to "unite, organize, educate and recruit" against Jews.
Raleigh lawyer Bill Martin, who represented Miller when he was charged in North Carolina, said he never viewed him as a violent man. Instead, Martin said, he was very articulate.
"It was obvious that he had given a lot of thought to the particular view that he had, and he had done a lot of study on it and simply came to the views that he did," Martin said.
Still, he said, he wasn't surprised by Sunday's arrest.
"Anyone who ascribes to that sort of world view, eventually, they may act on it," Martin said.
According to police, the attacks Sunday in Overland Park happened within minutes of one another.
At around 1 p.m. a gunman shot two people in the parking lot behind the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. He then drove a few blocks away to a Jewish retirement community, Village Shalom, and gunned down a woman or girl there, Douglass said. Officers arrested him in an elementary school parking lot a short time later.
Police said the attacks at both sites happened outside and that the gunman never entered any buildings. Douglass said the gunman also shot at two other people during the attacks but missed.
At a news conference, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass declined to publicly identify the man suspected in the attacks. But an official at a jail in Olathe, Kan., speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case, identified the suspect as Cross.
He was booked into jail on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder after the attacks.
Authorities declined to release the victims' names pending notification of their relatives, and the identity of the person shot at the retirement community was still unknown early Monday. However, the family of the first two victims put out a statement identifying them as Dr. William Lewis Corporon, who died at the scene, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, who died at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
Corporon's daughter said Monday that her father and son went to the community center so the teen could participate in an "American Idol"-style singing competition. They were ambushed as they got out of a truck at the community center, she said, and each was shot in the head.
They were both Christian, and the family thanked members of their church congregation, among other people, for their support.
"We take comfort knowing they are together in heaven," the family said.
Douglass said the suspect made several statements to police, "but it's too early to tell you what he may or may not have said." He also said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether there was an anti-Semitic motive for the attacks or whether they will be investigated as hate crimes. The Jewish festival of Passover begins Monday.
"We are investigating it as a hate crime. We're investigating it as a criminal act. We haven't ruled out anything," he said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said it reached Cross' wife, Marge, by phone and that she said authorities had been to their home and told her that her husband had been arrested in Sunday's attacks.
The attacks rattled Overland Park, a suburb of about 180,000 residents south of Kansas City.
President Barack Obama released a statement expressing his grief over the attack, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
"My heart and prayers are with all those who were affected by today's events," Brownback said in a statement. "We will pursue justice aggressively for these victims and criminal charges against the perpetrator or perpetrators to the full extent of the law."
Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, also said in an emailed statement that "no community should have to face a moment such as this one."
"Today, on the eve of Pesach, we are left to contemplate how we must continue our work building a world in which all people are free to live their lives without the threat of terror," he said.