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William Lewis Corporon, 69, and Reat Griffin Underwood, 14. / Corporon family

By all accounts, Reat Underwood was the all-American boy.

Reat, 14, was one of three people killed in a gunman's rampage at two Jewish sites on Passover eve in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. Authorities said Monday that the accused killer will face murder and hate-crime charges.

Reat had gone to the Jewish Community Center on Sunday with his grandfather, physician William Corporon, 69, to try out for the KC SuperStar singing and scholarship competition. Both were fatally shot. The third victim, shot outside the Village Shalom retirement home, was Terri LaManno, 53.

All the victims were Christians.

Reat was an Eagle Scout who enjoyed "spending time camping and hunting with his grandfather, father and brother," said Mindy Corporon, Reat's mother and the daughter of William Corporon.

She said she arrived at the scene as police were arriving.

"It was very unreal," she said Monday. "It didn't feel like a crime scene to me, it was family. My family members on the ground."

She called the shootings a "horrible act of violence," adding that her loved ones were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Reat was a freshman at Blue Valley High School, where he was involved in debate and theater.

"He loved to debate," she said, adding that he had been involved in eight debate contests and earned a varsity letter.

"He was very proud of that," she said.

"He was with us for a wonderful 14 years and had a real full life for a 14-year-old," she said.

Blue Valley has almost 1,500 students, but Principal Scott Bacon told USA TODAY that Reat made a positive impression right away, at the annual Blue Valley Educational Foundation breakfast that draws almost 1,000 people.

"He sang the national anthem," Bacon said. "I realized very quickly we had a young man with tremendous talent in our school. I was certainly impressed by his presentation in front of such a large audience. I saw him as a young man with great promise."

Bacon said he often saw Reat chatting with other students in the hallways. Bacon said Reat already had become a fixture at singing events in the school, including the annual musical - this year Guys and Dolls.

"This was a traumatic event for our school community," Bacon said.

The high school had planned an in-service day for teachers Monday, so no classes were scheduled. But counselors were being made available for students, schools superintendent Tom Trigg said.

Trigg also was at the breakfast and knew Reat.

"His talents were on full display that morning," he said, adding that he found Reat to be "an engaging and exceptional young man."

Reat was still in his grandfather's truck when police say Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, opened fire at the community center, killing Reat and his grandfather, then fired shots outside the nearby Village Shalom retirement home.

Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, is a former "grand dragon" of the Ku Klux Klan with a long history of running illegal paramilitary organizations and intimidating minorities, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"That idiot absolutely knocked a family to its knees for no reason," said Will Corporon, William Corporon's son and Reat's uncle.

Corporon practiced medicine in Oklahoma from 1976 through 2003, when he and his wife moved to the Overland Park area to be closer to their grandchildren. Will said his dad was in college when Will was a baby, and that his mother worked to put his dad through medical school.

Will Corporan said many people come up to him and remark that William Corporon's hands were the first hands ever to touch their children.

He said his dad would have gladly given his life to save Reat's life.

"My father leaves behind a legacy of faith and family and community," he said.

LaManno, whose mother lives in Village Shalom, was the mother of two and an occupational therapist at the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said.

The family members are long-time parishioners at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Kansas City, where a rosary was said for LaManno after Monday morning Mass, The Kansas City Star reported.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Shooting victim was an Eagle Scout, 'tremendous talent'

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