SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Members of the local Jewish community reacted to news that a gunman killed three people Sunday in shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Jewish retirement home Village Shalom, both in Overland Park, KS.

Jackie Lieberman, owner and editor of The Alternative Press of Westfield and a resident of Scotch Plains, grew up in Leawood, KS.

“My grandmother is supposed to move into Village Shalom soon,” said Lieberman. “I had my bat mitzvah at that JCC. I spent so many hours there when I growing up. It’s a major hub of Kansas City’s Jewish community. I’ve been in touch with my friends back home, including one woman whose husband and son were in the JCC when the shooting took place. Everyone’s just devastated.”

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Jennifer Mamlet, executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Central NJ, sent the following message to JCC members and the community via email:

As you may already be aware, this afternoon there was a fatal shooting at the JCC in Kansas City. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the community of Kansas City and all of those touched by this terrible tragedy. While the details are still unfolding, it has been reported that the local police already have someone in custody. 

While we have no reason to believe that our JCC is at a heightened risk, many of you will naturally be concerned about the security of our JCC following today's tragic events. I want to assure you that we continue to do everything we can to keep our JCC safe and secure. We will continue to work with local law enforcement as we always do and have been in touch with them regarding today's tragic events. We ask that all of our members, too, continue to be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior at any time.  

Again, our hearts go out to the community of Kansas City and all of families affected by today's devastating tragedy.

B'Shalom (with peace),

Jennifer Mamlet

Executive Director