Shootings at a Jewish community center and a nearby retirement community that left three people dead highlight the need for Jews to be especially alert at this time of year, says Karen Aroesty, the Anti-Defamation League's regional director in St. Louis.
The suspect in Sunday's shootings in a Kansas City suburb, Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, who also is known as Frazier Glenn Miller,
has been charged with a hate crime, news reports
say. He was reportedly known by authorities to be a white supremacist, reports the Huffington Post.
The shootings took place the day before Passover, an important Jewish holiday, and Cross was reportedly screaming anti-Semitic epithets when he was arrested.
"You can put several titles on him if you want," Aroesty told John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
"He's had [Ku Klux Klan] affiliations, he's had broader white supremacy affiliations, and it's not like you can wrap white supremacist stuff into a nice neat little package and say, 'This is what they represent,'" she said Monday.
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Several violent tragedies have occurred during the month of April in recent years, and Jewish communities often practice heightened vigilance and security at this time of year, Aroesty said.
"This is something that Jewish communities that are targeted live with," she said. "We tend to do a bit of informational sharing this time of year as a matter of security advisory anyway, because those who are in the hatred business like to use symbolic dates sometimes as a cloak for their events."
Significant dates include the April 19 anniversary of the Branch Davidians siege in Waco, Texas, in 1993; the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City; April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler; and school shootings such as those at Columbine High School in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007, which also occurred in April.
Those dates "tend to be symbolic opportunities, and we have to remind Jewish communities to heighten their awareness and be a bit more careful," Aroesty said. "You know what, we'll have to keep doing it, because the likelihood is that at some point in the future, this is going to happen again."
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