Man charged with threatening Kansas City-area synagogue

Julie Wiener

A sign for Congregation Beth Shalom (Facebook)

A sign for Congregation Beth Shalom (Facebook)

(JTA) — A Kansas City man has been charged with threatening a synagogue in suburban Overland Park.

According to the Kansas City Star, prosecutors accused Brian Wachter, 40, of making an unspecified threat on May 31 against Congregation Beth Shalom. A Conservative synagogue, Beth Shalom has roots dating back to 1878, according to its website.

Brian D. Wachter Johnson (Courtesy of County Sheriff’s Office)

Brian D. Wachter Johnson (Courtesy of County Sheriff’s Office)

It was not clear whether Wachter’s arrest was related to a security threat to the Kansas City Jewish community reported earlier this month. The head of the local Jewish federation issued a statement on June 14 saying that Jewish agencies had become aware that morning “of a potential threat to the broader Kansas City Jewish community.”

“Working in collaboration with law enforcement officials, immediate steps were taken by our Director of Community Security to secure our facilities,” the statement said. “Law enforcement has since resolved the situation, and we continue to work with local and national officials to maintain a safe and secure community.”

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Wachter appeared in court Thursday on a single criminal threat count and was jailed, with bond set at $25,000, the Kansas City Star reported.

In April 2104, a white supremacist killed three people in front of two Kansas City Jewish institutions: two in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas, and one in the parking lot at Village Shalom, a Jewish assisted-living facility a few blocks away.

The killer, Frazier Glenn Cross, said he intended to kill Jews, but none of the victims was Jewish. Cross, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death earlier this year.

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