Hate crime. The man accused of a shooting attack at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement complex near Kansas City is a known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader. Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora, Mo., is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of three people in Sunday’s attack in Overland Park, Kan. SITE, a U.S.-based terror monitoring group, described the suspect as a known and vocal anti-Semite who frequently calls for genocide against Jews. The family of the first two victims, who were Christians, released a statement identifying them as William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, who was at the center to audition for a local talent show. “We take comfort knowing they are together in heaven,” the family said, while asking for privacy to mourn. The third victim has been identified as 53-year-old occupational therapist Terri LaManno, a Catholic who was visiting her mother at the retirement complex near the community center.
Security alert. In the aftermath of the shootings in Kansas City, synagogues are stepping up security across the country as they prepare to commemorate Passover, which begins today at sundown. In New York City, home to 1.5 million Jews, Mayor Bill de Blasio said police would have a heightened presence around temples and Jewish neighborhoods, WPIX-TV reported. Police in Nassau County on Long Island will increase patrols, as well.
Presidential prayer. President Barack Obama remembered the Kansas City victims this morning at an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House. “As Americans, we not only need to open our hearts to the families of the victims, we’ve got to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society,” Obama said. “We have to keep coming together, across faiths to combat the ignorance and the intolerance, including anti-Semitism that can lead to hate groups and violence because we are all children of God.” Obama started the annual Easter breakfast in 2010. At the end of this year’s event, the president called on Gene Robinson, The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, to pray. From his Twitter account, Robinson posted, “POTUS ‘preaches’ at the Easter prayer breakfast. Then, out of the blue, asks ME to close with prayer. OMG!”
Into the deep. Search crews sent a robotic submarine deep into the Indian Ocean today to begin scouring the seabed for Flight 370, the missing Malaysian airliner. After six days of trying, crews have not detected any further signals believed to be from the plane’s black boxes. The unmanned underwater vehicle, the Bluefin 21, can create a three-dimensional sonar map of any debris on the ocean floor. But search officials warned the public to be realistic about the challenges facing search crews in the extremely remote, deep patch of ocean—an area one official called “new to man.” Meanwhile, officials are investigating an oil slick about 3.4 miles from the area where the last underwater “pings” were detected. Crews have collected an oil sample and are sending it to Australia for analysis, a process that will take several days.