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Thursday, August 12, 1999 Published at 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK

World: Americas

Hate link to gun suspect

Furrow (centre) is said to have links with white supremacists

The man accused of a mass shooting at a Los Angeles Jewish community centre is reported to have told the FBI that he wanted to issue a "wake-up call to America to kill Jews".

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  • The suspect, 37-year-old Buford Furrow, surrendered to the FBI after travelling 275 miles to Las Vegas by taxi.

    He was arrested and charged with murdering a postal worker on the same day as the mass shooting with a high-powered weapon which wounded five people, including three children..

    Furrow was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm in the killing of postal worker Joseph Ileto. He was gunned down about an hour after the shootings at the North Valley day-care centre in Granada Hills.

    Prosecutors could seek the death penalty.

    The BBC's Clive Myrie: "This has again ignited the debate on gun control"
    After the attack, the gunman fled in a van and then hijacked a car.

    Shortly after, police reportedly recovered hand grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a book about white supremacists.

    [ image:  ]
    Furrow became the subject of a nationwide hunt after eluding police and heavily armed Swat teams in Los Angeles.

    He gave himself up after taking a taxi from Los Angeles to the Nevada border, where he took a second taxi that dropped him off in Las Vegas.

    Supremacist ties

    Police refused to speculate on the motive for the shootings, but there are mounting reports that Furrow has links to white supremacist groups.

    [ image: Furrow eluded police in Los Angeles]
    Furrow eluded police in Los Angeles
    His details are held on a database maintained by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre.

    Researcher Mark Potok said Mr Furrow had belonged to the group Aryan Nations in 1995. "I have a picture of him, Furrow, in a Nazi outfit," he said.

    Furrow is also reported to have recently served a jail term for assaulting employees of a psychiatric centre and as a result was barred by federal law from possessing guns.

    According to court records, he told police last year that he feared he would go on a shooting rampage.

    'Deeply disturbing'

    President Clinton said the motives of the gunman for the Los Angeles shootings appeared to be deeply disturbing.

    "I can only hope that this latest incident will intensify our resolve to make America a safer place, a place of healing across the lines that divide us," the president said.

    First Lady Hillary Clinton said the incident had shocked the "core of the nation".

    She told a news conference in Los Angeles: "I hope our outrage will strengthen our resolve to address the scourges of gun violence and hate crime in America today."

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