After a man with reported anti-Semitic ties gunned down three people outside Jewish facilities in Kansas on Sunday, Baltimore County has increased police presence around Passover."We are in touch with the police department from both Baltimore City and [Baltimore] County and have increased police presence at both our campuses," the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore posted on Facebook. It has locations on Gwynnbrook Avenue in Owings Mills and Park Heights Avenue in Pikesville.
Baltimore County police confirmed to ABC 2 News that the department increased patrols in Pikesville and other parts of the county with large Jewish populations.
Other jurisdictions including the District of Columbia, New York and San Francisco have ramped up police patrols around Jewish community centers, USA Today reported, and more than 400 Jewish leaders joined a conference call Monday with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to discuss security measures.
The suspected shooter in Sunday's killings, Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora, MO, was a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and White Patriot Party, according to CNN. He is accused of killing three people: a woman visiting her mother at the Village Shalom assisted living facility, and a teenager and his grandfather outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, according to the Kansas City Star.
News of the shootings was "very unsettling," according to Rabbi Ron Shulman of the Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Pikesville, who told ABC 2 News that his son and granddaughter had been at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS, just 10 minutes before the shootings.
"It's unfortunate that people still have such hatred and anger that they would take it out on innocent lives," Barak Hermann, president of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, told WNEW.
This month, the Anti-Defamation League—an organization that aims to stop anti-Semitism—urged religious leaders to take precautions around Passover (an eight-day observance that starts April 14) and especially on April 20, which is Adolf Hitler's birthday, the Jewish News Service reported.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the tragedy in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom," the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore posted on Facebook. "We wish our colleagues who run the Jewish agencies in Kansas City all our best in leading their community during this difficult time."
Those at Temple Oheb Shalom in Pikesville echoed the sentiment, posting on Monday to the temple's Facebook page: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost their loved ones in yesterday's tragedy in Kansas..."
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas told the New York Daily News that the state plans to file federal charges, including committing a hate crime, that could merit the death penalty.