In a grisly shooting that had echoes of the Mumbai terror attack on the Jewish Chabad House, three people were killed in Kansas City community centres when a suspected former “grand dragon” of the Klu Klux Klan identified by authorities as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. (73) opened fire.

On the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, a boy and a man were reportedly shot in a parking lot of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Kansas City on Sunday afternoon, with one of them dying at the scene and the other at a hospital later, according to police.

Reports said that the shooter then “drove a mile to the Village Shalom retirement community and fatally shot a woman there.”

Cross became the target of a nationwide manhunt in 1987, after going underground following the proscription of the white supremacist group that he formed, the Carolina Knights of the Klu Klux Klan.

He was then reportedly convicted of criminal charges related to weapons and violations of an injunction against paramilitary activity.

At a press conference, police chief John Douglass was unable to confirm witness reports that the suspect had yelled “heil Hitler” from the back of a police car after being taken into custody, as a video posted on YouTube by local television stations appeared to suggest.

However, Mr. Douglass said, “We know it's a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption.”

In a statement that followed on Sunday evening, US President Barack Obama said, “Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this tragedy. I have asked my team to stay in close touch with our federal, state and local partners and provide the necessary resources to support the ongoing investigation.”

He added that while his administration did not know all of the details surrounding the shooting, the initial reports were “heartbreaking.”

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