Community Speaks Out Against Hate Crime

Published 04/14 2014 05:36PM

Updated 04/15 2014 07:43AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Just one day after the deadly shootings in Overland Park, Kan., members of the Jewish community in St. Joseph are speaking out against hate crimes.

"It's just hard to understand and put in perspective why this happened as with any senseless killing," said Dr. Steven Rosenak, a member of the Temple B'nai Sholem of St. Joseph.

Rosenak says he's still in shock after a man with a long history of involvement with hate groups gunned down three people. Police say Frazier Glenn Cross began asking people if they were Jewish, then opened fire killing three.

"How could this happen? Why did this happen? And I can't believe this is happening in this day and age close to us in the Midwest in Kansas City," added Rosenak.

Rosenak says he can't believe the shootings happened, especially at the start of this holiday week. The shootings happened a day before the start of Passover, the eight-day holiday in which Jews commemorate their liberation from slavery in Egypt.

"I don't know how you could even be incorporating any of those awareness thoughts or the thoughts of I might get shot or killed because I'm going to a place of worship," added Rosenak.

Samantha Nichols grew up in Overland Park, minutes from where the shootings took place. She says her family and friends are having a difficult time coping with the shooting.

"Everyone just can't believe it because whether you're Jewish or not that's a huge presence in our community," stated Nichols.

The shooting still leaves questions unanswered. Many say the tragedy in Overland Park shows why family time is so important. 

"We should always say goodbye and and say, 'I love you' to your family members every time that you leave each other. We should be more aware of saying loving things to each other whenever possible," stated Rosenak.

"It affects everyone everyone in that community knows someone who is associated with the Village Shalom or the JCC," added Nichols.

Although two of the victims were not Jewish, the shooter could be charged with a hate crime if he targeted them because he thought they were. According to reports, Cross is the former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

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