Alleged shooter described as "frightening" neo-Nazi - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Alleged shooter described as "frightening" neo-Nazi

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© AP via SPLC © AP via SPLC

A white supremacist accused of killing three at two Jewish centers was known to a prominent civil-rights group and the FBI for his neo-Nazi views.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has kept tabs on Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, for many years through its Hatewatch blog.

"My initial reaction was a mixture of horror, and feeling like here we go again," said Mark Potok, senior fellow for the civil-rights group Southern Poverty Law Center, about learning of the shootings in Overland Park.

SPLC officials say Cross is the former "grand dragon" of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which he founded and ran in the 1980s before being sued by the SPLC for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and using intimidation tactics against African Americans.

The SPLC says the suspect went to prison in part for plotting the assassination of the organization's founder, Morris Dees. 

"This is one the most frightening neo-Nazis out there," Potok said. "He is incredibly violent in the way he talks about the Jews and his many other enemies."

While the FBI was aware of Cross, who also goes by Glenn Miller, there was no active investigation into him, officials said.

"The white supremacist movement has a lot of bark, they also have some bite...but most of them (are) a lot (of) loud and aggressive hate speech," said Michael Tabman, a retired FBI agent.

Tabman says it's difficult for law enforcement to keep tabs on those practicing hate speech because it's protected speech under the U.S. Constitution.

"There's too many people out there...spewing this type of hateful message and we can't follow them around," Tabman said.

The former FBI agent feels the suspect allowed himself to be caught so he could continue telling his message. He says it's unlike other people who may commit mass shootings and then turn the gun on themselves.

"This is different. He had a message, and he wants to stand up in court and say what I did," said Tabman.

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