KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two hate crimes, three years apart, four people killed.
“I heard ‘Your father is in heaven. Go find Reat,'” Mindy Corporon recounted to the crowd.
But Corporon’s son Reat was also killed by a man targeting people he thought were Jewish at Overland Park’s Jewish Community Center in 2014. Frazier Glenn Cross would continue on to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he killed Terry LaManno.
Three years later, Johnson County is seeking the death penalty in another hate crime. Prosecutors said Srinivas Huchibotla was killed at Austins in Olathe by a customer who thought he and a friend were Iranian.
“When I finally saw him in that funeral home lying there lifeless, that was the worst moment for me,” his widow Sunayana Dumala recalled at the forum hosted by the New York Times.
“We know these were horrific tragedies, and they had to rebuild their lives. So part of it is what do you do next?” NYT reporter Audra Burch said of her return to Kansas City.
Ian Grillot, an Austins patron who charged at the shooter identified as Adam Purinton, also took part in the forum.
“There’s too much senseless hate in this world,” he said. “Anything I can do to overcome that, to just let people know that there are good people here and we do care.”
“Our point of all three of us is to let people know this isn’t something that should go on and we don’t want it to happen to other families,” Corporon said.
Dumala said she didn’t know the word premeditated before her husband’s slaying. Because of her husband’s death, she’s now having to fight immigration laws to remain in Olathe. But she says it’s a fight worth fighting, to remain in a community that’s shown her love since the crime.
“It’s very important to me that I stay in that house and keep him alive through my actions and let people still see him in me,” Dumala said.