By Carin M. Smilk – Chabad.org
Three people were reported dead and a teenage boy critically wounded after shootings today at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Kan., and at the nearby Village Shalom assisted-living and retirement center, both situated about a mile from the Chabad House Center of Kansas City. The scenes of the shootings are in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City and part of its greater metropolitan area.
A Overland Park Regional Medical Center spokesperson said the hospital was treating a 14-year-old boy who suffered a gunshot wound and who was in critical condition.
According to local news reports a suspect was taken away in the back of a police car at a nearby elementary school — and yelled an anti-Semitic remark at onlookers. It was unclear if he was responsible for all the shootings.
The FBI was on the scene assisting local authorities.
Rabbi Mendy Wineberg, co-director of the local Chabad center said “the phones started ringing off the hook” shortly after the series of events, which started at about 1 p.m. He noted that every Shabbat, he walks by Village Shalom, which was put on immediate lockdown after the news broke. Weinberg immediately began calling local residents and answering questions from worried individuals and families.
“I called up Jewish police officers I know,” he said, noting that two, in particular, frequent the Chabad House. He said he invited one to each Passover seder on Monday and Tuesday nights as reassurance to a rattled community. “It’s an added benefit,” he said of having them there.
Overland Park, with nearly 175,000 residents—more than Kansas City itself—is the second most populous city in state of Kansas after Wichita.