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Preparedness protected residents, Village Shalom chief says

April 15, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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One person was shot and killed outside an Overland Park, Kan., senior living community on Sunday, but the outcome could have been worse had staff members not been prepared for such an event, the community’s president and CEO says.

“We are extremely proud of the way our staff and residents reacted during the crisis,” Village Shalom’s Matthew E. Lewis wrote on the community’s Facebook page Monday. “Due to the policies, procedures and emergency preparedness training that Village Shalom has in place, our staff responded appropriately to the crisis, ensuring the safety and security of our residents. We are thankful to them and the first responders who made sure that our campus was locked down and secure until the immediate crisis was over.”

Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old woman coming to visit her mother at the assisted living section of Village Shalom, has been identified as the shooting victim previously identified as “a woman or girl.” Two others were killed outside a nearby Jewish community center shortly before LaManno was shot. Authorities have detained 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, who also has used the last name Miller, as a suspect in all three crimes; the Associated Press described him as “a well-known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader.” Despite being killed outside of Jewish facilities, all of the victims were Christian.

LaManno had been an occupational therapist for 8 years at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired in Kansas City, which, in a statement on its website Monday, described her as a “gracious, generous, skilled and deeply caring individual who made a great difference in the lives of so many children and their families.”

Visitors to the Village Shalom Facebook page now are greeted with this Helen Keller quote: “The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.”

The overcoming, Lewis wrote, will take the form of grief and trauma counseling being made available to residents, families and staff members. The facility also is increasing its security for the foreseeable future, he added.

“As saddened as we are by this event, we will continue to provide quality care and support for our residents and their family members,” Lewis said.


If you’re concerned that a similar event could occur at your community, you may find helpful these emergency preparedness resources from Long-Term Living: Preparing for ‘active shooter’ events: Lockdowns and Active shooter events: Balancing resident, staff safety.

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One killed at senior living community in Kansas