Yesterday, on the eve of Passover, the hate came home. A white supremacist who most recently resided in Aurora, Missouri loaded up his car with his guns and drove to Kansas City where believed he could find him some Jews, and started blasting away in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. To his sort, it matters not that most of the people who use the center are members of the community, and not Jewish — but to his diseased mind if you don’t hate people who are different than you, you’re at least as bad, if not worse, than the members of the original hated group. Most of the people who were at the JCC on Sunday afternoon, the eve of Passover, were high-school thespians there to audition for a musical.
The Jewish Community Center victims were churchgoing Methodists Reat Underwood, age 14 and his grandfather William Corporon. The doting grandfather wanted to take his grandson to his audition for support and just because he loved to hear him sing.
The two were shot at the town’s Jewish Community Center, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said. One died at the scene and the other died after being taken to a hospital, he said.
The third victim was a woman who was shot at Village Shalom retirement community, Douglass said. She died on the scene.
It was believed the shooter fired at two other people, but neither was hit, the police chief said.
“We have no indication that he knew the victims,” Douglass said.
“We’re investigating it as a hate crime, we’re investigating it as a criminal act, we haven’t ruled out anything,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said.
“There was a shotgun that was involved,” he said. “We are exploring the possibility that a handgun was involved in the shooting at the two persons that he missed, and we are looking at the possibility of an assault rifle.”
According to the family statement, Underwood was a freshman at Blue Valley High School, and participated in debate, theatre “and had a beautiful voice. Reat had a passion for life, and touched so many people in his young age.” He was an Eagle Scout and “loved spending time camping and hunting with his Grandfather, Father, and brother,” the statement said.
The Kansas City metro area is home to nearly two million people, and by sundown on Sunday, the whole lot of us were in shock and mourning, but we were angry, too.
Angry that this nobody, this pissant, this failure at life itself — would come to our town and shoot our friends and neighbors.
There is a reason most of us in the city don’t venture outstate very often…and that reason is because people like Miller, or Cross, or whatever name he was booked under, are out there, and they are consumed by hatred. But it isn’t enough that we leave them be. That isn’t good enough for them. They feel like they have to come gunning for us where we feel safe, in our homes and houses of worship. And that, my friends, is the very definition of terrorism.