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It's been a decade since Overland Park's antisemitic murders. These survivors still carry the grief

The 2014 shootings in Overland Park's Jewish community, which killed three people, left partners, parents, children, friends and more grappling with the loss.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
The 2014 shootings in Overland Park's Jewish community, which killed three people, left partners, parents, children, friends and more grappling with the loss.

On a rainy Palm Sunday in 2014, a man motivated by his hate for Jewish people killed three people at Jewish sites across Overland Park: Bill Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno. A decade after that tragedy, the victims' families and loved ones — and the witnesses who survived — grapple with the loss and how to honor their memories.

Editor’s Note: Ten years ago, a self-avowed antisemite intent on targeting Johnson County’s Jewish community killed three people in Overland Park. In reporting this story about the 10-year anniversary of that tragic day, the Johnson County Post — following the guidance of news organizations like the Associated Press and NPR — has chosen not to name the shooter, who himself is now dead.

This story is not about him. It’s about the survivors.

It was around 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, 2014, and Bill Corporon and his grandson Reat Underwood were arriving at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park for Underwood’s KC SuperStar singing contest audition.

Nearby, Terri LaManno was on her way to visit her mother, who was a resident at the Village Shalom retirement community.

At about that same time, a lifelong, avowed and ultimately unrepentant white supremacist arrived in suburban Johnson County.

Armed with a festering hate for Jewish people, he opened fire, first at the Jewish Community Center and then at Village Shalom. On that day — a rainy Palm Sunday — he brutally murdered Corporon, Underwood and LaManno.

LaManno was a nurse and occupational therapist who had dedicated her life to helping children who were visually impaired. She was also a wife and mother, fiercely devoted to her Catholic faith and just days away from celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary.

Corporon was a physician with experience in both family and emergency medicine. He was also an avid swimmer and a proud father and grandfather. His grandchildren lovingly called him “Popeye.”

Underwood, just shy of his 15th birthday, loved performing and Boy Scouts and was interested in following in his grandfather’s footsteps to become a doctor himself. His friends remember him as a charismatic person, who was kind and funny.

Borne out of the tragedy of their killings has been a years-long effort to foster interfaith relations, and later, a nonprofit that aims to be an engine for kindness. That organization, now called SevenDays, has grown into a community-wide initiative that has pushed to eradicate hate — like the kind that killed LaManno, Underwood and Corporon — primarily through youth-focused projects.

Ten years after the tragedy in Johnson County, the victims’ families and loved ones, as well as the witnesses who survived the shooting, live with the implications of their loss, their trauma and the violence of April 13, 2014, every single day.

Over the past several months, the Post has gathered their stories, conducting dozens of interviews with members of the LaManno and Corporon families, as well as witnesses and survivors.

Below, find a collection of their stories of grief, of healing, of living with tragedy.

Jim LaManno: The husband

Jim LaManno is the husband of Terri LaManno, who was killed in the 2014 shootings in Overland Park.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Jim LaManno is the husband of Terri LaManno, who was killed in the 2014 shootings in Overland Park.

The thing that Jim LaManno loved most about his wife of almost 25 years, Terri, was ultimately the thing that contributed to her death.

“It was her passion to take care of everyone in the family, and to be sure that everyone had what they needed,” he said.

When his father got sick with cancer, Terri took charge of ushering him to all of his appointments and made sure he was getting the best treatment possible. And, in 2014, when her own mother’s health was starting to decline, Terri was there to lead the charge on her care, too.

“She lost her life taking care of her family,” LaManno said.

The year of the shooting and the year that came after it are blanks for Jim. He just can’t remember what was happening at the time.

However, he does remember two police officers coming to his door to tell him that his wife — for whom he was waiting so they could go to church together for Palm Sunday — had been killed.

He also remembers how his six lifelong friends supported him in that time and even now, they continue to help him move forward.

“Without all of this, I might not be here today,” he said.

While LaManno commends the work of SevenDays, founded by Mindy Corporon, he has started to back away from it in more recent years. He has a strong desire to “blend back into society,” as he puts it, and move on from the tragedy more privately.

“I can’t talk about it every day,” he said. The sheer volume of the news coverage dedicated to the murders and everything that came after made him feel, for lack of a better word, “embarrassed.” It certainly “overwhelmed” him at a time when all he wanted to do was be there for the children he shared with his wife.

Their kids, Gian and Alissa LaManno, were in college then. The LaMannos also had a biological daughter they had only recently reconnected with more than two decades after giving her up for adoption.

Members of the extended LaManno family have turned more toward private scholarships to remember Terri. In particular, Jim LaManno set up a memorial scholarship fund at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, where his wife was working at the time of her death. Money that came pouring in from all over the world ultimately landed in that fund, too.

He contributes annually to that, trying to help children get access to the services they need there and, more recently, helping the center reopen its pool for aquatic therapy.

“I’ll always give to that,” he said, usually about $10,000 a year.

That scholarship has done a lot to help the center, particularly in the Early Learning Academy, said Connor Uptegrove, a spokesperson for the school. Director of Therapy for CCVI Danielle Schulte sees that as part of her former colleague’s legacy.

“Terri changed the lives of countless children, and her legacy continues to touch the lives of countless more,” Schulte said.

A decade on, LaManno still lives in the home he shared with his wife in Kansas City’s Brookside area. He’s still a practicing dentist and doesn’t intend to give that up any time soon.

The gun violence that continues today puts him back in that dark spot, LaManno said.

“I can’t hardly stand to see the murder and the mayhem, it just bothers me,” he said, noting a discomfort with how elected officials have failed to make progress on protecting people from gun violence.

He also has a hard time being still — something he struggled with before, but it’s worse now. LaManno can’t read a book anymore without his mind wandering away.

He feels the loneliness still. Bad dreams have lingered too.

“I’m happy, but part of the joy is gone,” he said. “She was my joy.”

Mindy Corporon: The daughter, mother and founder

Mindy Corporon is the mother of Reat Underwood and daughter of Bill Corporon, who were killed at the Jewish Community Center in 2014.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Mindy Corporon is the mother of Reat Underwood and daughter of Bill Corporon, who were killed at the Jewish Community Center in 2014.

The last words Mindy Corporon ever heard from her oldest son Reat Underwood were, “I love you too, Mom.”

He said them to her as she was leaving for her youngest son’s lacrosse game.

She heard them just as she was almost gone, walking toward the garage door to leave, after she expressed her own love and wished him “good luck” at his audition that afternoon.

Later, the lacrosse game was canceled due to bad weather, so Corporon decided to head to the Jewish Community Center to see if she could catch Underwood’s audition.

She arrived only minutes after Underwood and his grandfather, but she didn’t catch the audition. Instead, she saw her father’s truck, the doors wide open. Soon, she saw her father, collapsed in the parking lot near the vehicle.

Worried her father had a medical emergency, Corporon floored it, thinking her son had gone inside to get help. She parked and came flying out of her car, screaming.

She could see he’d been shot.

“There was nothing I could do for him,” she said. “And I heard the words, ‘Your father’s in heaven, go find Reat.’”

Then, she saw her son, with two men she’d never met tending to him. His face had “red dots all over,” she remembers.

“I didn’t feel present,” she said, “like I was in another dimension.”

The pain that came after, though, was unlike anything she’d ever experienced up to that point.

“It’s a pain that you don’t know that you have the ability to feel,” Corporon said. “It’s as if someone took a knife and slit you from your throat all the way down to your stomach, and splayed your heart out on top of your body.”

She felt angry, too, though she kept a lot of those feelings to herself in the initial aftermath. Corporon started having panic attacks and shirked sleep by drinking coffee late at night. She remembers crying all the time, particularly the times she would lie down in Underwood’s bedroom and sob.

Still, she said she felt like it couldn’t be “a private grief event,” and there was an urge to channel her son’s potential and her love for him into something else.

“I was supposed to do something about it,” she said, though she wasn’t sure what that was going to be at that point.

After the shooting, Corporon struggled with her faith. Having grown up attending a church in Oklahoma where her father would occasionally preach, she believed strongly in the teachings of the Bible.

The tragedy, though, was “soul-altering.”

She still believes in God and Jesus but has started mixing other religious beliefs and codes in, too. For example, she’s started living by some of the rules of Judaism and incorporates Buddhism into her faith as well. Corporon said she’s become something of an “interfaith person,” and she feels a “tether to all faiths.”

Corporon gets signs and visions as well. Yellow butterflies, which she sees from time to time, are one sign she feels is especially important, and it’s one her mother, Melinda Corporon, and other members of her family see too.

Members of the Corporon family also hear the song “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train periodically, which reminds them of Underwood, and they feel it is a sign he’s there with them. It’s a song he performed in a school talent show as a kid.

She recently stepped down as the president of the Faith Always Wins Foundation too, hoping to get other people in with a penchant for that work to help capitalize on the momentum and carry it into the future.

Corporon, who eventually left her career in wealth management, started a company called Workplace Healing that aims to help companies support people in their workforce who encounter tragedies. She’s unsure what the future holds for that endeavor, but it grew out of her own experiences after the loss of her father and son.

Along with her husband, Corporon moved to Florida about five years ago, a move that was designed to help their son Lukas Losen — Reat’s half-brother — heal in ways he couldn’t in Kansas City. For a while, they held onto their home in Johnson County, but they ultimately decided to sell it a few months later.

It was hard to let go — the home where they had all lived together as a family — but it was ultimately the right choice, Corporon said.

“It was memories that we wanted that were never going to happen, and we had to really rip that band-aid off and allow the healing to begin a different way,” she said. “The healing was not working inside that house.”

Berkley Selvin: The activist

Berkley Selvin, who was 15 on April 13, 2014, was arriving at the Jewish Community Center for her B’nai B’rith Youth Organization leadership board meeting at about 1 p.m. that day.

With what was expected to be a busy agenda, the group had all decided to come in a bit early. So, her dad dropped her off closer to 12:45 p.m.

The space they would normally be in on the first floor by the center’s White Theatre was locked, so they picked a room somewhere else upstairs in the building.

Had the meeting started when it was initially scheduled, or taken place where it was supposed to be, things could have been a lot different for Selvin and the other teenagers with whom she was gathering.

Shortly after they all got settled into the conference room, her dad called her and told her there was a shooting right outside the building. The place that had been her “safe space” — where she’d gone to preschool and attended after-school care and summer camps — was now the scene of a hate crime.

Selvin remembers freezing up, but the group she was with jumped into action, barricading themselves into the room with tables, chairs, whatever they could find. They didn’t know what was happening outside. They didn’t know if they were safe.

“People called their family members to say goodbye, because we had no idea what was going on,” she said. “I remember being fearful.”

For two hours, they just waited in that conference room. Eventually, someone did find them and gave them the all clear, but the scene they emerged into was one of pure chaos, Selvin recalls.

In the years after, she didn’t do much with the trauma she experienced. It wasn’t until years later, when she was in college in Arizona, that she started to struggle with her feelings, particularly survivor’s guilt.

After the shooting in October 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which killed 11 people, (the deadliest act of violence directed at Jewish people in American history) she attended a vigil in Tucson, where the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park — the shooting she’d lived through — was mentioned.

Selvin was touched by that, and she felt inspired to reach out to Mindy Corporon, who she’d never met. She sent her an email, and eventually Corporon responded. Later, the two met, which Selvin said has had a profound impact on her life.

And over the years, Selvin said the shooting has made her stronger and prouder of her Jewish faith. She has also dedicated her life to addressing gun violence, getting involved in Arizona politics with the Democratic Party in 2019.

“I knew that I wanted to work for someone who understood gun violence in a very personal way, and knew what that is like for our community,” she said. “The impact of April 13 led me to my career.”

Selvin said it was Mindy Corporon who inspired her to pursue that work, learning from her how to convert “pain into purpose.”

“The way that she’s been able to turn such a horrendous tragedy, the worst you could possibly imagine, into something incredible and to give back to the community,” Selvin said. “I am just in awe of her ability to turn this kind of pain into purpose and something meaningful.”

Julie Luttman, Amy Fennesy, Christine Coleman: The “Four Musketeers”

Amy Fennesy (left), Christine Coleman and Julie Luttman were known as the "four musketeers," along with Terri LaManno.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Amy Fennesy (left), Christine Coleman and Julie Luttman were known as the "four musketeers," along with Terri LaManno.

Growing up, Terri LaManno, Christine Coleman, Julie Luttman and Amy Fennesy were known as the “four musketeers,” virtually inseparable.

That connection continued into their time at St. Teresa’s Academy, where the group went to high school, and long after they graduated.

A decade after LaManno’s death, Fennesy will still sometimes accidentally drop LaManno’s name into the list when she says, “I’m going out with the girls.”

“I have to stop myself,” she said, running through the list — Julie, Terri, Christine. “Those three names just come out naturally. It’s not going to go away, I don’t think, ever.”

In the group of four, Luttman was closest to LaManno. The pair shared Rose as a middle name and would frequently call each other by their first initial and middle names — T. Rose and J. Rose, respectively. They dubbed themselves “sister friends.”

“She is the only human being in my 62 years where she and I were just always very relaxed and at peace with each other,” Luttman said.

LaManno was also there for Luttman in the face of remarkable tragedy and struggle. When Luttman was 29, her first husband died suddenly, LaManno was there. Later, when her son had open heart surgery at age 5, LaManno was there. When she got divorced, LaManno was there. When she had cancer, LaManno was there.

“She was always there,” she said. But now, LaManno “won’t be there.”

In her memory, the friends made up small business-card-sized handouts they distributed at LaManno’s memorial service that reminded people to be “Terri’s Warriors of Kindness.” The cards told people to “stand up against hate” and “commit random acts of kindness in honor of Terri’s selfless and caring heart.”

A handful of alumni from their graduating class at St. Teresa’s Academy all pitched in to have a memorial bench for LaManno at their alma mater in Kansas City, Missouri, as well.

Over the years, Fennesy has been involved with some of the SevenDays activities, as have Luttman and Coleman at times. But, for the latter two — who support the mission of encouraging kindness and combating hate — they have a hard time being so public and have struggled to participate.

“It’s just not something I’m comfortable with,” Coleman said.

In the end, Fennesy believes LaManno’s life offers a lesson to everyone: “I feel confident that in Terri’s last moments, she had lived a life that led her to have no regrets at those last minutes, seconds, moments,” she said.

She tries to apply that to her own life now, knowing that anything can happen to anyone. So, she tells her loved ones that she loves them often, and she tries to be the best version of herself.

“I don’t want to be in that position where my last thoughts are, ‘Oh, I should have done this or something like that,” she said.

All these years later, the three who remain from the “four musketeers” still get together, and they feel LaManno’s absence.

“We’ve tried to continue making sure that we stay strong friends,” Coleman said.

And Fennesy is sure their friend is watching over them. It gives her “a sense of peace to know that.”

Lukas Losen: The brother

Lukas Losen's grandfather, Bill Corporon, and half-brother, Reat Underwood, were killed at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center in 2014.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Lukas Losen's grandfather, Bill Corporon, and half-brother, Reat Underwood, were killed at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center in 2014.

Lukas Losen was just 12 years old when he saw his older half-brother’s feet disappear into an ambulance at the Jewish Community Center.

That was the last time he saw Reat Underwood.

Before that moment — before his grandfather Bill Corporon was killed, before he saw Terri LaManno’s body in the parking lot at Village Shalom, and before his brother was taken away in an ambulance — he said his family was nearly “picture perfect.”

He remembers growing up with Reat fondly: the pair trying sushi for the first time on vacation, playing video games in their shared “man cave,” his brother’s sometimes “annoying” singing in the shower, and watching the show “The Big Bang Theory” at their grandparents’ house.

Losen also remembers that he had fought with Reat the day before the murders, though a decade later, he can’t recall what it was about. Still, he said “good luck” to Underwood when they parted ways, his brother preparing for an audition and Losen going to his lacrosse game.

“It eats at me that I didn’t say, ‘I love you,’” he said.

Later that day, he was driving home with his father because the lacrosse game was rained out. It was on the drive that his father got a call from his mother, Mindy, who was frantically saying that something terrible had happened to his grandfather and Reat.

“I’ll never ever forget it. She’s screaming bloody murder, frantic and crying. Just absolutely hysterical,” Losen said.

Losen can still hear her say, “Reat’s been shot.”

For years after that, he struggled with everything he saw, everything he heard. He says they were “by far the hardest years of my life.”

He got close to suicide twice and felt himself sink further and further into a darkness he couldn’t escape. The only reason, he said, he didn’t end his life during that time was because he didn’t want to cause his parents more heartache from the loss of their other child.

“I remember just feeling alone and feeling lost,” Losen said, adding that he lived in the shadow of his brother’s life and death. “I had to learn that it was OK to share what was going on in my head because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

And the work his mom did at the time to turn the tragedy into the Faith Always Wins Foundation — what would later become SevenDays — hurt him, too. Those efforts, though he’s happy to be involved in them now, kept him in the shadow of his brother and prevented him from moving forward.

It was hard for him to go to Blue Valley High, where his brother had gone, and hard to see all the memorials to him, as well. People there, particularly Underwood’s former classmates, wanted to talk about him, and Losen just couldn’t do it.

So, he left.

In 2018, Losen moved to Florida to go to a prep school, and he embraced golfing, a hobby that had given him a sliver of solace. All of that gave him the space to forge his own path, define himself outside of the immense tragedy his family had suffered, and start to move on.

“I had to heal on my own, I couldn’t be in the nest anymore,” he said. “I had to leave the nest and become Lukas.”

Now, a senior at the University of Arkansas, he is about to embark on the next chapter of his life and says he is doing a lot better. More than anything, he wishes he could talk to his brother and hear about the life he should have had.

“If I had one wish in the world, it would just to be able to call him and ask him how med school was,” Losen said, “just to find out what he would have been doing, and watch him grow and become the man that he was supposed to be. He would have been really amazing, but he was taken from us too soon by evil.”

Dan Stringfield: The paramedic

Dan Stringfield was one of the paramedics dispatched to the Overland Park Jewish Community Center after the 2014 shooting.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Dan Stringfield was one of the paramedics dispatched to the Overland Park Jewish Community Center after the 2014 shooting.

A career firefighter and paramedic in Overland Park, it’s part of Dan Stringfield’s job to be there for people on their worst days.

But some stick with him more than others, and April 13, 2014, was one of those days.

That Sunday, Stringfield was working an overtime shift, and he wasn’t stationed at his regular firehouse in southern Overland Park. Instead, he was at Firehouse No. 44, on 119th Street.

He was dispatched to the Jewish Community Center for reports of a gunshot victim, but with concerns of an active shooter, his crew was ordered to stage nearby and wait for the all-clear. While waiting, they learned there were multiple victims. Then, they heard there was a second shooting incident nearby.

Upon arrival, it was clear one of the shooting victims was “type black,” which meant they had “obvious deadly injuries, lethal injuries.” A second victim was “type red” with critical injuries.

Stringfield started working on the “type red” immediately. It was Reat Underwood, “who still had signs of life.” Someone who was on the scene had already bandaged his head.

“We didn’t spend a lot of time on scene just because with trauma patients, the quicker you can get them to the hospital, get them to the [operating room], there’s a better chance of survival,” Stringfield said, describing the rush to get Underwood to Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Stringfield was in the back of the ambulance with Underwood, focusing trying to keep Reat alive with two other emergency medical personnel.

“As we were transporting, he lost his pulse,” Stringfield said.

Efforts to resuscitate Underwood began in the back of the ambulance. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful.

“Everybody that was on the scene and was taking care of Reat, because of the injuries, we knew it wasn’t going to be a good outcome. You kind of struggle with that part of it,” Stringfield said. “In our line of work, I mean, obviously we want to help people, we want to be able to make a difference but know that that’s not always going to be the possibility.”

Eventually, Stringfield returned to the station and is pretty sure he went out on another call after that. At some point, he was working on paperwork for the call at the Jewish Community Center, taking extra care because he knew, at the very least, homicides had occurred.

“I was kind of in my own little bubble at the station and kind of doing my job at that point,” he said.

It wasn’t until later that shift, when his father who lives in a different state called after hearing the news of the shootings that he realized the magnitude of what had happened.

A few months later, at a Royals game where they honored the families of the shooting victims and the first responders who were on the scene, Stringfield met Underwood’s mother, Mindy Corporon. There, she told him she had questions she needed answered.

The very next day, she visited him while he was on shift.

“I was able to kind of answer some of the questions and stuff that she had about timelines and events, kind of fill in some blanks and everything for her,” Stringfield said.

Typically, in situations where an individual dies, Stringfield said it’s uncommon to hear from their families again. The fact that she came and wanted to know specifics, “was a first and only for me in my career,” he said.

Gian LaManno: The son

Before his mom, Terri LaManno, was murdered, Gian LaManno had been exploring his faith, looking beyond his Catholic upbringing.

At the time, just 20 years old, he was going to nondenominational churches while away at Kansas State University for college. That had, at times, put him at odds with his mother, a devout Catholic, and spurred some arguments between them.

The day before she died, though, he called her to tell her he planned to come home for Easter.

“I’m very, very thankful that I had that ability to say, ‘I love you’ to her and to have just a good ending,” Gian said.

The next day, a police officer and a chaplain came to inform him that his mother had been killed.

He remembers the shock, and how his dad sounded on the phone when he asked him to come home. He also remembers how hard it was to try to grieve and process what all was happening with the amount of attention that was thrown on his family.

Most starkly, he can recall how instantly feeling in his heart a pull to forgive the man who killed his mother.

“I knew right then and there that the only way I’m going to find joy in life is to be able to forgive this man and to pray that he can seek forgiveness from God,” he said. “I don’t know where I’d be at in life right now if I chose to have hate and anger towards this man.”

Losing his mother like that did put him on his current path. After graduating from K-State, he moved to Denver in 2016 to pursue missionary work with the Catholic nonprofit organization Christ in the City.

During the two years he partnered with them, he served the homeless community there and lived by the motto, “Love until it hurts.”

When his service mission was up, Gian decided to stay in Denver, which gave him space to keep healing. Recently, he started going to counseling, where he learned to accept his anger and sorrow over his mother’s murder and cope with her absence.

And though he still lives with the grief, he believes that experience taught him how to “choose to show the world that we can love and that it really does change things.”

For him, that’s why he thinks the Faith Always Wins Foundation and the SevenDays efforts have proven so fruitful, though at times, it’s been hard for him to participate in those activities.

“We need to choose kindness, and it’s such an easy thing to do. It’s so small, but it has such a profound impact on our society,” he said.

Jake and Natalie Svilarich: The friends

Jake and Natalie Svilarich, now married, were high school freshmen when their friend Reat Underwood was killed in 2014.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Jake and Natalie Svilarich, now married, were high school freshmen when their friend Reat Underwood was killed in 2014.

Jake and Natalie Svilarich were just freshmen in high school when their friend Reat Underwood was killed.

The couple, now married, say the act of violence that took their friend’s life has rippled out into their lives over the past 10 years.

“Once you’ve been through it, there’s not really any turning back, it changes you forever,” Natalie said.

When news started to circulate that Underwood had been shot and was presumed dead, it fell to Jake to call the members of their friend group to tell them what had happened. He remembers getting a mix of anger and disbelief in return. Some thought he was telling a cruel joke and scolded him.

After the reality sunk in, the friends all decided to congregate at someone’s house and eventually went to a prayer vigil together. When they returned to school, they stuck together, and everyone wore white to remember Underwood.

“We were just going to stay together and do what we can to keep each other afloat,” Jake said. He wanted to make sure everyone in the group was OK during that time. The way he puts it, “I made it my job.”

“I kind of took the approach that all of these people need support and help and attention, and I will feel however I need to feel about it later,” he said.

However, when he got to his first class that first day back at Blue Valley High, the empty seat by his — where Underwood had sat — haunted him. A fellow classmate did come sit in the chair at some point and comfort him.

It wasn’t until a few years later, when a memorial bench was dedicated at Blue Valley High in Underwood’s memory, that Jake Svilarich felt like he was really starting to process how he was feeling.

Still, he feels like he has a lot of work to do to heal, though he’s starting to build new friendships in his life that bring him some of the same joys his friendship with Underwood did.

Natalie, too, remembers it was hard to go back to school without Underwood. In a school that was usually loud and bustling, the whole building “was dead silent,” she said. At some point, someone had started a memorial for Reat in the choir and theater area of the school, and red hearts with the initials “R.U.” were posted on lockers.

Later, she was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and has spent hours in therapy working through it.

“People always imagine, ‘Oh, your grief shrinks over time, and it gets smaller and smaller, and then you only notice it every once in a while.’ I don’t feel like that’s necessarily true,” Natalie said. “I feel like it stays the same size, and we just grow around it.”

A decade on, the now-married Svilariches say they can see some of the good things that have come out of their experience. For one thing, they think the ripple effects of Underwood’s murder brought them closer together and ultimately led to their marriage.

But, particularly around big life moments for them and their friend group, the couple feels the loss reverberate still.

“Every time a milestone hits, like when the last person graduated college, we were like, ‘Oh, we’re never going to get to see Reat graduate college,’” she said. “When Jake and I got married, we all went and prayed around an empty chair with a little plaque for Reat on it.”

“Even though there are things happening without him, and we’re experiencing all these milestones that he never will, he would want us to enjoy it,” she added.

Patty McMahon and Mary Euston: The older sisters

Patty McMahon (left) and Mary Euston are athe older sisters of Terri LaManno.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Patty McMahon (left) and Mary Euston are athe older sisters of Terri LaManno.

Patty McMahon, the oldest child of the five Hastings children, was already 13 when her littlest sibling, Terri LaManno, was born.

In adulthood, an occupational therapist with a background in nursing and a penchant for caring for family members with medical issues, LaManno led the charge in the care of their mother, Betty Hastings, as she started to need more help, McMahon said. At the end of her life, Hastings had dementia.

“She was always somebody you could just count on,” she said, adding that her sister was always “a competent, capable, kind person.”

On April 13, 2014, none of the sisters had told each other, but they were each individually planning to visit their mother at Village Shalom. It seems that LaManno had arrived first.

But LaManno never made it inside the building.

Some time later, McMahon arrived and remembers seeing a big commotion in the parking lot. Shortly after, Euston arrived too, and she saw the yellow police tape was already up and a blue tarp was laid over someone on the ground.

“I prayed for that person,” she said.

At some point, the whole retirement community went into lockdown mode. The sisters heard there had been a shooting, and the sisters believed it was some sort of domestic dispute involving a blonde woman.

People started calling them to check in to make sure their mother was OK, and they assured those callers that everyone in their family was fine.

Euston left to have dinner with her daughter, but McMahon stuck around. Euston saw a crime scene vehicle still in the parking lot. Later, two police officers and an employee of the retirement community came to their mother’s unit.

McMahon said that at first, she thought they wanted to talk to her about what she’d seen since she came in shortly after whatever incident had occurred.

The officers were there to tell her that her sister had been killed. The commotion she’d seen coming in several hours before was the scene of her sister’s murder. The officers told Euston over the phone too.

McMahon remembers “falling on the floor in the worst state of shock I’ve ever had in my life.”

“Your brain just explodes when you hear something like that,” Euston said.

A decade on, McMahon feels like she misses her sister more now than she did in the initial aftermath.

“It’s always a missing hole,” she said.

These days, Euston is still troubled by the senseless hate she sees in the U.S. and in the world — she knows the danger of letting the hate fester.

“Everybody just wants to live their life and feed their children and have a roof over their heads,” she said. “We’re all the same.”

“I don’t think people realize that it really can be them, that the hate out there can actually explode and affect their family,” she added. “What’s changed me is that I know it can happen.”

Mickey Blount: The intervener

Mickey Blount was the sports supervisor for the Overland Park Jewish Community Center when the shooting happened.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Mickey Blount was the sports supervisor for the Overland Park Jewish Community Center when the shooting happened.

If it had been a normal Sunday afternoon, there would have been hundreds more people outside the Jewish Community Center on April 13, 2014, when the shooting started.

Mickey Blount, who was the sports supervisor for the center at the time, said his own sons would have been out playing soccer. He was supposed to be out there training umpires for the baseball program.

However, bad weather that weekend had put a stop to all outdoor activities and moved a few events indoors. He had just arrived at his desk after checking on the condition of the baseball fields when someone told him there was an active shooter at the building.

After helping to hide children from the child care center in the locker rooms, he decided to jump into action. He found a former United States Army medic at the front desk, who soon darted out to the parking lot to retrieve his bag with first aid gear.

Blount and another employee soon followed suit, arming themselves with baseball bats and other random items in the lost and found. They went outside and up the hill, soon finding Bill Corporon, already deceased, and Reat Underwood, who the Army medic was tending to.

Next thing he knew, Mindy Corporon was “right there.”

“She and I literally ran into each other,” he said. “We were both frantic.”

Blount remembers her saying, “I know my father’s in heaven, but I want to get to my boy.” He didn’t know what to do but decided to hold her back.

“I didn’t want her to see her son like that,” he said.

Mindy wanted to pray, he said. Eventually, Blount and another Jewish Community Center employee ushered her inside, and she used his phone to call her husband to tell him what was happening.

He remembers the next half-hour being “a mad dash” trying to get her reunited with her family. She was “composed” even in the chaos, he said — “she had a glow and an aura about her” that Blount is sure came from her faith.

Eventually, Mindy, her husband Len Losen and their son Lukas, as well as Mindy’s mother, Melinda Corporon, and her brother, Tony Corporon, all reconnected.

Later, after Blount made it home, he got a call from Mindy. She told him that her son was dead, and she thanked him for helping her.

For years afterward, moments from that day would flash through his mind daily.

“It sticks with you, of course it does,” Blount said.

It was Mindy Corporon who helped him heal.

“Her strength and her courage through all of it helped me heal,” he said. “Her life took a turn that she never thought it would, and she’s devoted herself to [SevenDays], and I think the legacy lies within that.”

Alissa LaManno: The daughter

In mid-April 2014, Alissa LaManno was feeling a sense of dread, though she couldn’t quite place what was the matter. It was keeping her from sleeping.

But still — a college student at the time in Springfield, Missouri — she was planning to come home for a couple of days, and got in the car to return to Kansas City.

The odd feeling escalated, becoming like a chest pain around 1 p.m. on April 13.

“I’ve never felt pain like that before, and I haven’t felt pain like that ever since,” LaManno said. Then, as suddenly as it came on, a few minutes had passed and it was gone.

At some point, she made a pit-stop, and while she was using the restroom, she hopped onto Facebook. To her shock, she saw news of a shooting at Village Shalom, where she knew her grandmother was living at the time and her mother, Terri, frequently visited.

Frantically, LaManno said she tried to call her mother, but got no answer. She called again, and still nothing. After multiple attempts, she called her father.

Then, when LaManno pulled up to her family home, there were two detectives there. They were notifying her father that Terri had been shot and killed.

The next several years, she admits now, she was running from how she felt about her mother’s murder.

“My 20s, I spent very much trying to hide my grief and to be there for other people that were grieving, and not really dealing with my own grief,” LaManno said.

At some point, after graduating from Missouri State University, going to nursing school at Rockhurst University and living at home for a while, she lived in Seattle, then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Only within the past year has she started to confront those feelings.

“I realized that I put my feelings of grief off for way too long, just because I didn’t want to feel those feelings,” LaManno said. “Sometimes I feel like that kind of made me a bit of a coward, but we all deal with our grief a little bit differently.”

Over the years though, LaManno has picked up ways to honor and remember her mom. For one thing, she likes to travel, something she and her mother had planned to do more of after she finished school. She also goes out for margaritas — Terri’s drink of choice — on the big dates, like her mother’s birthday and the anniversary of her death.

That doesn’t mean she’s necessarily fine now. It can be hard living with that kind of grief, she said, especially when other acts of violence mirror what happened to her mother and put her back in the feeling she tried to avoid.

“The Chiefs parade [shooting] was very, very triggering for me,” she said. “Those families, my heart just aches for them because that is just, it’s horrible. Seeing other people go through what we went through, no one should ever go through that, no one should ever have to bury their loved one.”

Melinda Corporon: The wife and grandmother

Melinda Corporon was the wife of Bill Corporon and grandmother of Reat Underwood, who were killed at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center in 2014.
Kylie Graham
Johnson County Post
Melinda Corporon was the wife of Bill Corporon and grandmother of Reat Underwood, who were killed at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center in 2014.

Melinda Corporon was already starting to piece together plans for her 50th wedding anniversary with Bill, her high school sweetheart.

The couple had lived much of their lives together, even working together for a while at his family medicine practice in Oklahoma. They came to the Kansas City area to be closer to their family in the early 2000s, settling into their life as grandparents, while Bill embarked on a new career in emergency medicine.

She remembers that the nurses loved him every place he worked, and that he was beloved by his patients over the years as well.

“Everybody sees a different side of somebody else,” she said. “But he really was very kind, very compassionate.”

In 2014, Bill was nearing retirement, looking forward to a time when he could be a full-time grandfather — or Popeye, as his grandkids called him — and spend more time with his wife.

On April 13, Melinda was on “Yea-Yea” duty (the name her grandson Reat Underwood had lovingly bestowed on her years before). She was with her grandchildren, Andrew and Katy Corporon, who are the children of her youngest son, Anthony Corporon.

Just the day before, a Saturday, she had invited over all her grandkids living in Kansas City to dye Easter eggs — which Melinda remembers as “an annual affair.”

Now, that Sunday, she was with her daughter-in-law and grandkids, and they were getting ready to pay for the Easter photos. While waiting, she got the call that something was wrong.

She left quickly, arriving at the Jewish Community Center, where part of the violence had unfolded.

Much of what happened after that is hazy to her. Her children, siblings and other family members say she was borderline catatonic in that period.

“It’s so strange to be out of it,” Melinda said. “You don’t want to be out of it. I’m telling myself I need to remember these things, this is important to remember, and I couldn’t.”

She does remember insisting the first hymn at the shared funeral for her husband and grandson be “Holy, Holy, Holy” played by a family friend on the keyboard.

Though she was largely unaware, the home that she shared with Bill became the primary gathering place in the aftermath. Hundreds of people — family, friends, neighbors, etc. — banded together in that house.

At one point, she nearly required hospitalization due to dehydration. Family members were able to stave that off and scrounge together medical supplies — like an IV bag they had to hang from the ceiling fan to get her some fluids — her husband had apparently been collecting at the house.

A few years later, she would part with the house, deciding she couldn’t continue living in their shared home anymore. She moved into a condo in southern Leawood.

“I finally decided being alone in the big house and everything was too much,” she said.

Corporon, who has always valued her family, has found in the years following the shooting that she needs her loved ones now more than ever. That’s how she says she finds “some semblance of meaning in my life.”

Gael Martin: The younger sister

When Gael Corporon Martin was born, her older brother Bill was already 13, so her memories of him while growing up are pretty vague.

In fact, her first certain memory of him is when he got married, which happened about the time Martin was 6 or 7 years old. It wasn’t until they were all much older and both landed in the Kansas City area that the sibling pair really got to spend a meaningful amount of time together.

She remembers that much of their conversations were taken up by chats about grandkids and their shared interest in medicine; Bill Corporon was a doctor and Martin was a nurse.

“One of the many sad things about when he was killed,” she said, is that “we had started to get to know each other. I was finally getting to know my brother after a lifetime.

“That was certainly cut short.”

Today, she misses their talks, his annual birthday calls, his smile and infectious laugh. But she grieves most the lost opportunity to know him better.

“I miss all the things that we would have done together, all the times that we would have spent together since we were living so close at that time,” Martin said.

In the years since the shooting that took the lives of her brother and great-nephew, she retired and later moved away from Kansas City, settling in Arizona to be near family.

Martin said loss, though it could have hardened her, has made her more compassionate.

“I feel like I try to find the good in people more than I did before,” she said.

That isn’t to say things weren’t hard for her — as she describes it, “things went pretty dark” after the shock of what happened wore off. However, Martin said Mindy Corporon eventually “set the tone” for how the family unit was going to recover and built something to honor their memories.

“It was the right thing to do,” Martin said. “And it was certainly the healthier thing to do, because just being angry and hating, it won’t do me any good. It would make things worse.”

Any other path aside from choosing “kindness and compassion,” she feels, would have helped “hatred fester.”

This story was originally published by the Johnson County Post.

Kaylie McLaughlin covers Shawnee, Lenexa and USD 232 for the Shawnee Mission Post.
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