Boy Scout shooting range built to remember teen gunned down at Jewish Community Center

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The victims of the Jewish Community Center shootings are no longer with us, but that doesn't mean their legacy can't live on.

"I went with Reat to Bear Camp, and when you're at Bear Camp you get to go to the shooting range, they want to teach boys how to use the firearms properly," says Mindy Corporon, Reat Underwood's mom.

She reminisces about the days when her son was a Cub Scout.

"For most of our Cub Scouts, when they come to Bear Camp, the first time they will ever pick up a fire arm is right here," Kenn Miller, Scout Executive for Heart of America Council, said.

That was true for Reat. He was the proud owner of a shotgun and learned from his grandfather how to hunt. He was a Boy Scout when he was killed at 14.

"My dad and Reat were hunters," Mindy said. "We've been clear about that. They both happened to belong to the NRA, the National Rifle Association. We actually put Reat in his casket with his NRA hat on."

Reat's family listed Boy Scouts as one of the recipients of memorial gifts. They met with Miller and talked about several options for a memorial.

"They told us that they were building this BB gun range, they already started building the BB gun range, and that it was about to be finished -- and that seemed extremely appropriate," Mindy said. "We all agreed at the same time that the BB gun range would have meant a lot to Reat."

So a shooting range was built in Reat's honor.

"Certainly, we would much rather have him than have a BB gun range named after him," Mindy said. "But because they're not with us, what we are learning is that during a grieving period and to honor your loved ones, you want to do something on behalf of them that helps us while were still here on earth."

Miller says Reat would have been an Eagle Scout in a few months -- the highest rank that a young man can earn in Boy Scouts. And although he personally won't be able to use the gun range, many scouts will.

"We made a pretty prominent spot to display the dedication plaque, and I imagine, most kids will want to know, who is that, why is it on here, and that will give us a chance to tell the rest of the story, so his legacy really will live on for years and years to come," Miller said.

Mindy said they are not trying to politicize the use of guns. She says she's well aware of how her son and her dad were killed and what they were shot with. But she says the gun range memorial has nothing to do with that. It's more about teaching young Boy Scouts how to properly use fire arms.

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  • Lisa Blackwell

    Personally, I find this surprisingly appropriate. The family that has been most affected by this tragedy are supporting education with regards to firearms. Unlike ‘Justin Morgan’ they are able to appreciate that someone ‘just not right’ caused this tragedy, not the firearm alone. I hope this family continues to heal and to thrive…Incredible people in my eyes.

  • WG

    I am glad to see this family rise above the knee jerk reaction that so many today have in regards to gun violence. It isn’t the fault of the gun that some lunatic kills innocents anymore that it’s the hammer’s fault that you smash your thumb. If more people were raised to respect firearms then people wouldn’t be so scared of them. There are evil people in this world and all the laws in the world won’t stop them from doing evil things.

    Teaching kids how to shoot and to respect firearms is a very good thing.