Shootings at Jewish centers called 'heinous' attacks

Kansas authorities apprehend suspect; three dead

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Shootings at two Jewish community centers in Kansas in which three people died and others were wounded have raised concerns from those working to fight hate.

“The attacks on the Jewish community centers in Overland Park are a cowardly, unspeakable and heinous act of violence,” said Karen Aroesty, the St. Louis Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League in a news release. “While it is too early to label these shootings as a hate crime, the fact that two Jewish institutions were targeted by the same individual just prior to the start of the Passover holiday is deeply troubling and certainly gives us pause.”

The Anti-Defamation League, a group that works to stop the defamation of Jewish people, asked the public not to come to any conclusions until authorities release the results of the investigation.

“(The Anti-Defamation League) is not aware of any additional threat to Jewish institutions at this time,” Aroesty said in the release.  “Nevertheless, it is appropriate for Jewish institutions to make sure that all of their security measures are in place and in good working order.”

The ADL released a report April 1 stating anti-semitic incidents have gone down 19 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The organization said there were 751 incidents reported in the U.S. in 2013.

“The total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 19 percent in 2013,” the report states, and that continues a decade-long downward slide. The ADL started tracking numbers in 1979.

However, numbers showed an increase in assaults targeting Jews and Jewish property with 21 anti-semitic assaults in 2013. There were 17 reported in 2012.

No assaults were life-threatening, according to the ADL.

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