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At Kansas City memorial, Holder calls hate crimes an ‘affront to who we are’

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at a memorial service Thursday, held in honor of those killed during Sunday’s attack on two Jewish community centers. Video by PBS NewsHour

Attorney General Eric Holder told hundreds of Kansas City, Kan. mourners Thursday that all Americans stood with their community after three people were killed at two Jewish facilities, in what local and federal authorities have called a hate crime.

“Every alleged hate crime, no matter who the intended target, is an affront to who we are and always have been, both as a country and as a people,” Holder said at Thursday’s memorial service at the Jewish Community Center. “We are united in our condemnation of this heinous attack and our commitment to see that justice is served.”

FBI identified the Kansas City gunman as Frazier Glenn Cross, who was the former “grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and was linked to other hate groups.

State prosecutors charged Cross on Tuesday with capital murder for opening fire Sunday at the community center, killing 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood and his grandfather Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69. Cross was also charged with premeditated first-degree murder for killing Terri LaManno, 53, at the Village Shalom Retirement Center.

Hundreds gathered Thursday at the Jewish Community Center for a memorial service in honor of the three people shot dead in Sunday’s shooting in suburban Kansas City, Kan. Video by PBS NewsHour

Cross is also facing federal hate crimes charges. Holder said in a statement Monday that the Justice Department will determine “whether the federal hate-crimes statute is implicated in this case.”

The FBI follows Congress’ definition of a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation,” adding that “hate itself is not a crime.”