Mother remembers last song, last kiss before son gunned down - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mother remembers last song, last kiss before son gunned down


Reat Underwood practiced and practiced Sunday morning. Dressed in a coat, tie, black shirt and hat he was excited about auditioning for a singing competition.

The 14 year old was prepared to sing On The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady as his first song. And if that went well, he was going to sing You're Gonna Miss Me when I'm Gone.

And his family very much misses him now after he and his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, were gunned down as they arrived at that audition. Authorities say a white supremacist killed them along with Terri LaManno at Village Shalom where she was visiting her mother.

"It was a horrible action of violence. My dad, our dad, and my son were at the wrong place at the wrong time for a split second," Mindy Corporon said.

Corporon recounted her last moments with her beloved son and father during a news conference on Monday afternoon. She had tasked her father with taking Reat to the competition because she was going with her second son to an athletic event.

The two were buddies and grandfather's favorite moments were with his grandchildren.

"I waited for my dad to pick him up, make sure everything was OK," Corporon said. "Then I heard him sing 'em one more time. And I got to kiss him and tell him I love him."

When she arrived at the Jewish Community Center, she saw the doors were open to her father's vehicle.

"And I wondered why my dad wasn't just standing there. As I pulled up, I saw that he was lying on the ground. My first thought was that he'd had a heart attack and that he was just lying there," she said. "But very quickly I realized that it wasn't that and I knew my dad was in heaven within seconds."

When she ran around his truck, she saw her son who had collapsed after he was struck in the head.

Corporon said strangers grabbed her and kept her from seeing the most gruesome moments. As she went into the JCC, she saw bullet holes in the glass and realized the enormity of the situation. She prayed incredibly hard as they rushed her son to the hospital for emergency surgery.

"It was very unreal and no one should have to go through that. But they were very careful in locking down the location," she said. "It was a crime scene but it didn't feel like a crime scene to me. It was my family, my two family members that were lying on the ground."

Corporon has been stoic and resolute in her public appearances. But she said make no mistake that this is an incredibly difficult time.

"This isn't easy. People keep saying how come you're so strong? And I'm strong because I have family. I'm strong because I have faith. I know that God did not do this. I know that there are evil, evil actions. But what we do have is each other. And we have love and we have prayer and we have friends and family."

She hopes that her son's organs and tissues could be donated. He had his learner's permit and had signed up to be an organ donor.

"We want something good to come out of this," Corporon said. "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."

She said her son loved to debate and had competed in seven competitions in the first semester of his freshman year. He had big plans for summer theater performances.

And now the family will watch others take those roles.

Will Corporon, who lost his father and nephew, remembered a doctor and father whose hands were the first to hold many babies as a family practitioner. He was later an emergency room doctor, and then a year ago became medical director at an occupational therapy office.

"My father leaves behind a legacy of faith and family and community," he said. "We don't know why bad things happen to good people. Nobody does."

He said the family is choosing not to focus on the why or what happened, but on their loss and drawing comfort from each other.

"It takes no character to do what was done. It takes no strength of character. It takes no back bone. It takes no morals. It takes no ethics," Will Corporon said. "All it takes is an idiot with a gun. So there's no need to focus on him . . . . The tragedy is that they're not here. Our goal is to shine the light on our father and my nephew, and hopefully on just the senselessness of these kind of things. There's no rhyme or reason to it. That idiot, that idiot absolutely knocked a family to its knees for no reason."

The family now has two huge holes that will never be filled.

"We do hope that if there's any way possible that any sliver of good, goodness, grace can come of this, that by the sheer grace of God it will not have been just totally, totally for nothing," Will Corporon said.

Funeral services for grandfather and grandson will be held on Friday.

KCTV5's Jonathan Carter contributed to this report.

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