OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — It’s a day Paul Temme will not soon forget. He said he was at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., when he saw a man, later identified by police as Frazier Cross Jr., gun down two people in the parking lot on Sunday, April 13.
Two days after the shooting he described his encounter with the gunman to FOX 4’s Eric Burke.
“I heard the gunfire,” Paul Temme said. “Wasn’t immediately aware of what it was — unlikely place for gunfire, so it didn’t occur to me it really was.”
Temme quickly understood the danger when a woman came running at him, saying there was a shooter. Instead of running for cover, Temme walked toward where the gunfire.
“I saw the man firing still some gun shots into the victim’s vehicle,” he said.
Temme called 911 to report what was happening.
“He started to leave and head toward his car,” Temme said. “His car was parked blocking the victim’s vehicle, and so as he walked towards his own car. He deposited his rifle into the trunk and then he started to get into the driver’s seat.”
Temme said he was about 75 feet away.
“I realized he was driving away and unscathed,” he said. “I thought that I needed to try to help to identify him, so I ran towards his car hoping I could see his license plate.”
That is about the time the gunman saw him — some 60 feet away.
“We were actually sort of eye-to-eye at some point,” Temme said. “He stopped his vehicle and rolled his window down and shot at me.”
Temme dove to the ground, and once the gunman stopped shooting at him, he still had the courage and the presence of mind to help.
“I was on the phone with the dispatcher the whole time, so I was able to tell them the type of car it was and the direction,” he said.
Temme said once the gunman was gone, the dispatcher asked him to check on the victims. He says it was obvious 69-year-old Dr. William Corporan was dead. But a man, he described as a medic, seemingly came out of nowhere and was with 14-year-old Reat Underwood.
“I saw that boy and I thought theres not a chance that boy will live,” he said. “It was extrordinary that that young man (the medic) stepped up and did what he did. A marvelous thing. I wish I had that composure about myself.”
But Temem did have that composure. Any law enforcement officer will tell you being a good witness is key. He described the suspect, his car and the direction he left. All vital to any criminal investigation.
Temme knows it will be difficult to process what he saw, but his thoughts are with the families of the victims.