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Press Release

ADL Calls Shootings at Jewish Community Facilities in Overland Park, Kansas “Heinous and Unspeakable Acts of Violence”

St. Louis, MO, April 13, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the shootings earlier today at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City, which left three people dead, “an unspeakable and heinous act of violence” and called on the public not to draw any conclusions until authorities have released the results of the investigation.

While authorities have not yet determined whether the incidents were a hate crime, ADL remains in close contact with local, federal, and state law enforcement officials as the investigation continues.

The shootings at the Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom assisted living facility in Overland Park, Kansas, left three people dead. One person was in custody.  The alleged shooter was described by authorities as a white male in his 70s who was not from Kansas.  A shotgun and a handgun were believed to have been used during the shooting spree.

“The attacks on the Jewish community centers in Overland Park are a cowardly, unspeakable and heinous act of violence,” said Karen Aroesty, ADL St. Louis Regional Director. “While it is too early to label these shootings as a hate crime, the fact that two Jewish institutions were targeted by the same individual just prior to the start of the Passover holiday is deeply troubling and certainly gives us pause. We have reached out to local, state and federal law enforcement and stand willing and able to offer guidance and assistance to the community if this incident turns out to have been motivated by anti-Semitism.”

Just last week, ADL sent out a security bulletin to Jewish community institutions across the country warning of the increased potential for violent attacks against community centers in the coming weeks, which coincide both with the Passover holiday and Hitler’s birthday on April 20, a day around which in the United States has historically been marked by extremist acts of violence and terrorism, including the violence at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and the Oklahoma City Bombing. 

“ADL is not aware of any additional threat to Jewish institutions at this time,” said Ms. Aroesty.  “Nevertheless, it is appropriate for Jewish institutions to make sure that all of their security measures are in place and in good working order.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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An Overland Park police officer and Kansas State Trooper guard the entrance of the Jewish Community Center after reports of a shooting in Overland Park, Kan., Sunday, April 13, 2014.
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

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