WASHINGTON — Hate crimes are an affront to the nation, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday at a memorial service for the three victims of the shootings outside two Jewish centers near Kansas City, Mo.
Holder, playing a role often filled by President Obama after such tragedies, attempted to comfort the community of Overland Park, Kan., where the three lost their lives in shootings allegedly committed by white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., also known as Frazier Glenn Miller Jr.
"Every alleged hate crime, no matter the intended target, is an affront to who we are – and who we have always been – both as a country and as a people," said Holder, according to his prepared remarks released by the Justice Department. "These acts cannot be ignored. And their impact is not limited to particular communities or individuals."
Holder went through the roll of the dead from the latest in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the country, leading Holder and Obama to call on Congress to pass tighter gun laws, but in vain.
"Terri LaManno was a dedicated occupational therapist; a loving wife to her husband, Jim, with whom she should have celebrated her 25th anniversary on Tuesday; and a wonderful mother to their three children," Holder said.
"William Lewis Corporon was a highly respected physician who moved to Johnson County from Oklahoma to be closer to his grandchildren. And he planned to spend a portion of last Sunday bringing his talented grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood – a 14-year-old Eagle Scout with a beautiful voice and a passion for theater and debate – to a singing competition.
"But on Sunday afternoon, as they and others went about their daily business, and as Kansas City's thriving Jewish population prepared for the festival of Passover – this community was targeted by a senseless and unspeakable act of violence. And Terri, William, and Reat were taken from us – far too suddenly, and far too soon.
"We grieve for the friends and family members who knew them best and loved them most. And we pledge that we will support you – as one community and one nation – not only in sorrow, but in strength; united by tragedy, but bound together by unyielding resolve in the face of hate-fueled violence."