Kansas officers speak about Jewish site shootings at hearing
Law enforcement officers who responded in the first moments had no idea how dire situation was
By Bill Draper
OLATHE, Kan. — Law enforcement officers who responded in the chaotic first moments after three people were fatally shot at two Jewish centers last year had no idea how dire the situation was, two officers testified Wednesday at a hearing.
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, is charged with capital murder in the deaths.
The white supremacist from Aurora, Missouri, wants Johnson County District Judge Kelly Ryan to suppress evidence gathered from the scene where William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were killed in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park and 53-year-old Terri LaMano was gunned down at the nearby Village Shalom retirement home.
Miller, who fired his attorneys last month, is representing himself. His former defenders are acting as stand-by counsel but aren't participating in the hearing.
Miller also has asked the judge to suppress statements made by witnesses, which the state opposes. Among the witnesses testifying Wednesday are law enforcement officers who responded to the scene.
Overland Park police Capt. Marty Ingram, who was working off-duty at the Jewish Center, described the confusion after shots rang out just after 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon when hundreds of people had gathered for various activities, including auditions for a singing competition.
At first, it was unclear what was going on, Ingram said, including how many people were involved in the shootings.
"We didn't know how big the situation was," he said.
Ingram said that after Miller was arrested at an area elementary school parking lot where he had pulled in to wait for police, Miller asked how many Jews he had killed. All three were Christians.
On cross-examination, Miller asked Ingram several unrelated questions that led Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe to complain that Miller's questions were out of line. Ryan sustained that objection and four others regarding relevance of Miller's questions before the defendant said he was finished with that witness.
Six more witnesses were to be called in Wednesday afternoon, Howe said.
The trial for Miller, who has told The Associated Press and several outlets that he is dying from emphysema, is scheduled for August.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press