Peoria Public Radio Staff
Tue April 15, 2014
An 'Idiot With A Gun' Leaves Families In Kansas Reeling
Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 10:52 am
This post was updated at 11:45 a.m. ET.
The 73-year-old man accused of killing three people Sunday in a hate-fueled attack at Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kan., awaits a date in court later today. He's to be charged with one count of capital murder and one count of premeditated murder, local prosecutors announced Tuesday morning. Federal hate crime charges are likely at a later date.
But we want to focus on the victims and their survivors.
The Wichita Eagle writes that Terri LaManno, 53, had planned to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary today. Instead, her husband, Jim, and daughters Alissa and Jennifer and son Gian are mourning her death.
LaManno was killed outside the Village Shalom assisted living facility. She was there to visit her mother. According to the Eagle:
"Brian Fowler, a lawyer and longtime family friend, said Terri LaManno's two sisters were [also] visiting their mother at the time of the incident and didn't realize that their sister had been shot outside the facility.
"Fowler described Terri LaManno as a 'beautiful lady' who was devoted to her husband and children.
"LaManno worked as an occupational therapist at the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired in Kansas City. She worked with children and their families in their homes and provided constant 'support and compassion,' said co-worker and friend Amanda Daniels.
" 'Terri acted out of kindness and gratitude in everything she did,' Daniels said."
The first two people killed, outside Overland Park's Jewish Community Center, were 69-year-old Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood.
Corporon had brought his grandson to the center so that the boy could audition for a singing contest.
On Monday, Reat's mother spoke of the loss of her son and father. "It was a horrible act of violence, and my dad, our dad, and my son were at the wrong place at the wrong time for a split second," Mindy Corporon said. "We want something good to come out of this. We don't know what that's going to be. So we want people to let us know if they think that something good has come from it."
Of her son, she said he had "been wanting to try out for three years. ... He was dressed in a coat and tie and black shirt, and a hat." Reat had recently registered to be an organ donor when he got a driver's permit, his mother said.
Will Corporon, the doctor's son and Reat's uncle, said that "it takes no character to do what was done. It takes no strength of character. It takes no backbone. It takes no morals. It takes no ethics. All it takes is an idiot with a gun. ... That idiot, that idiot absolutely knocked a family to its knees for no reason."
Corporon also told reporters he's sure his father "would have given anything, if it could have just been him. He'd have stood up and just said, 'Take me.' "
"My father leaves behind a legacy of faith, and family and community," Will Corporon said. "I've heard from people today who said 'my children — his hands were the first hands on the planet that touched my children.' ... It touches my heart to hear things like that."
The Associated Press has a video clip with some of the Corporons' comments. The Kansas City Star has longer versions here and here.
Frazier Glenn Cross, who was arrested shortly after the attacks. He's a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who has been very public for years about his hatred of Jews.
All three of those killed Sunday were Christians. Prosecutors said Tuesday that the capital murder charge stems from the deaths of Corporon and his grandson, while the charge of premeditated murder stems from the death of LaManno.