Holder: Hearts broken after Jewish community shootings - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Holder: Hearts broken after Jewish community shootings


U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said the two Jewish community shootings have cast a pall over the nation, and that Americans must stand united in the face of hate-fueled violence.

"Although our hearts are broken, all Americans stand with the people of Overland Park, of Leawood and of Kansas City," Holder said. "We are united in our condemnation of this heinous attack and our commitment to see that justice is served."

Hundreds came together for a memorial service Friday morning for the victims of the Jewish community shootings.

"We are inspired by the resilience of this community, the strength of those who lost loved ones, and the stories of heroism that emerged from Sunday's tragic events from the passerbys and staff members who helped warn others about the danger to the brave law enforcement officials who raced to apprehend the suspect and prevented this horrific incident from becoming even more deadly," Holder said. "These acts of valor and selflessness are written the true story of what happened here. A story of light emerging from this terrible darkness. A community rising above senseless violence."

Holder was the keynote speaker at the Jewish Community Center, where a 69-year-old doctor and his 14-year-old grandson were gunned down. A 53-year-old mother was gunned down at the nearby Village Shalom assisted living center.

A white supremacist is accused of going to the locations in an effort to hunt and kill Jews. Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, yelled, "Heil Hitler," while in the back of a patrol car after he was arrested.

"Every alleged hate crime, no matter who the intended target, is an affront to who we are and always has been as both a country and as a people," Holder said. "These acts cannot be ignored. And their impact is not limited to particular communities or particular individuals."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback attended along with religious leaders of all faiths. Brownback did not speak.

There was a significant police presence at the service.

The service was inside the Lewis and Shirley White Theatre, where Reat Underwood was scheduled to participate in a singing competition.

Terri LaMannno's funeral service in Kansas City was at the same time as the memorial service. Dr. William Lewis Corporon and Reat will be laid to rest on Good Friday.

Holder said he wanted to pay tribute to the three remarkable individuals slain, and he shared personal details about each of those gunned down. 

"On Sunday afternoon, as they and others went about their daily business, and as Kansas City's thriving Jewish population prepared for the festival of Passover, this community was targeted by a senseless and unspeakable act of violence," Holder said. "And Terri, William and Reat were taken from us far too suddenly and far too soon."

He said the days to come will be difficult, but he said millions of Americans will be there for those touched by the tragedy.

"We will never stop fighting for justice. And we will never forget the names or the stories of those who we lost," he said. "Terri, William and Reat will live on in our hearts and in the cherished memories of all who knew them ... this new world will be their legacy and we will build it together."

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where Corporon and Reat attended, emphasized that good must come of this senseless tragedy.

"This evil cannot have the final word in this situation," he said. "We overcome evil with good. With hope and with determination that evil and those who spread hatred will not have the final word."

Many of those at the memorial service did not know the victims personally.

Leawood resident Carol Caviar said the shootings shattered a sense of security.

"We did not expect it and it's tragic whenever it happens but especially in our hometown that has always been safe we thought," she said.

Overland Park resident Adam Adler said he wanted to support the community.

"When you hear about these things happening in the country but then it's in your backyard, it means a lot to come support community," Adler said.

The Rev. Jerome Randolph of Gethsemane New Testament said the community must come together.

"I thought it was a beautiful service," he said. "Sad we have to come together in times like this but we do need to come together."

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