Justice Department to investigate whether Kansas shooting was a hate crime, Holder says

BY Joshua Barajas  April 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM EDT

Video by Associated Press

The Justice Department will investigate whether federal hate crimes were committed in a Kansas shooting that left three people dead Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Holder said, in a statement released Monday, that the department will support state and local authorities to “determine whether the federal hate crimes statute is implicated in this case.”

“I was horrified to learn of this weekend’s tragic shootings outside Kansas City,” Holder added. “These senseless acts of violence are all the more heartbreaking as they were perpetrated on the eve of the solemn occasion of Passover.”

On Sunday, a gunman opened fire on two Jewish community centers in Overland Park, Kansas. The suspect, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, was jailed on a preliminary charge of premeditated first-degree murder. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court Monday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.