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The male victims were identified as Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, a high school freshman, and his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, family member Will Corporon said in a statement. Both were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.
Underwood was an Eagle Scout who loved camping and hunting, Corporon said. Dr. Corporon had moved to the Kansas City area in 2003 to be closer to his grandchildren.
Douglass said he could not confirm reports from witnesses that the suspect had yelled “Heil Hitler” from the back of a squad car after being taken into custody, but video posted on YouTube by local television stations appeared to confirm that.
“The suspect in the back of a car made several statements,” Douglass said. “We are sifting through …those.” The FBI had been called in to help with the investigation.
It appeared the gunman had used a shotgun and possibly other firearms, he said.
President Barack Obama offered condolences. “While we do not know all of the details … the initial reports are heartbreaking,” Obama said in a statement.
The Jewish Community Center, which is also the site of Kansas City’s only Jewish community day school, the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, was a hub of activity on Sunday.
Several youth groups were meeting, people were auditioning for a music production and the academy was preparing for a school dance. Many non-Jewish people regularly join the facility’s activities.
“The thought of something like that happening is terrifying,” said David Wainestock, who rushed to the Jewish Community Center to retrieve his 16-year-old daughter who had been among the people temporarily locked down.
“In the Midwest we think we’re safe from this type of thing. But I guess it doesn’t make any difference now.”
Rabbi David Glickman, of the Beth Shalom synagogue in Overland Park, was at home preparing for the Jewish Passover holiday when he heard the news of the shooting.
“Everybody is shocked that it would happen here,” said Glickman. “This is a community that enjoys very strong and positive relations between the Jewish community and the rest of the community.”
The Kansas City area’s Jewish community numbers about 20,000.