- (Photo: Screenshot via Huffington Post)
The mother of the teen killed in the tragic Kansas Jewish community center shooting over the weekend said her Christian faith and prayer have helped guide her through this time of suffering. She also stressed her belief that God did not cause the tragedy.
"People keep saying, how come you're so strong? I'm strong because I have family, I'm strong because I have faith," Mindy Corporon, who lost her son and father in Sunday's shooting, told reporters. "I know that God did not do this. I know that there are evil, evil actions. But what we do have is each other, we have love and we have prayer, and we have friends and family. ... Our phone's been ringing off the hook."
"You have to reach to God," she said. "You have to reach to your friends and search your soul and that's what it's about. It's about us who are living and it's about loving and caring for one another."
Corporon was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting that took the lives of her 14-year-old son, Reat Underwood, and her 69-year-old father, William Corporon. Underwood had been trying out for a singing competition similar to the popular "American Idol" television show at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, located in the suburb of Overland Park. He and his grandfather, who often attended his grandchildren's extracurricular activities, were getting out of their car when Frazier Glenn Cross, a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, allegedly gunned down the two victims.
Corporon told reporters at a news conference Monday that her Methodist faith has kept her strong over the past few days. She said when she approached the scene of the crime to see her father laying on the ground near his truck, "I knew my dad was in heaven in seconds."
She held out hope for her teenage son, telling reporters that she "prayed and prayed and prayed" that her son would survive the shooting, ultimately learning that he had died from head trauma after arriving at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
"They both died from head trauma, and I feel confident from what I heard that they didn't feel anything, that they didn't know what was coming." The mother added that she felt "a lot of comfort – I felt God immediately" when she was at the crime scene in front of the Jewish center.
After Cross allegedly carried out his shooting at the Jewish Community Center, he then drove over a mile away to Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, where he shot and killed Terry LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic who was visiting a relative.
Cross was arrested Sunday afternoon outside of Valley Park Elementary School, and according to CBS News, the former Ku Klux Klan member reportedly shouted "Heil Hitler" at television cameras while being arrested.
On Tuesday, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said at a press conference that Cross was being charged with one count of capital murder and one count of first-degree, premeditated murder. The capital murder charge carries a possible death penalty punishment.
Cross reportedly has a history of white supremacy involvement, founding the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan while living in North Carolina and later founding the White Patriot Party, according to CBS News.