'Star in making' mourned after shooting at Jewish center - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports


'Star in making' mourned after shooting at Jewish community center


Devastated classmates of Reat Underwood struggled to make sense of his sudden death and came together for prayers, hugs and even smiles on Tuesday.

The high school freshman was gunned down Sunday afternoon as he and his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, arrived at the Jewish Community Center where Reat was auditioning in a singing competition. A white supremacist is accused of killing a third person at the nearby Village Shalom assisted-living center.

A vigil was held at Blue Valley High Tuesday morning. Counselors and teachers are helping Reat's classmates mourn.

"It's really hard to accept the fact that he won't be in school with us again, but I now he's in a better place and that's all I can really think about," Blue Valley High student Jeremy Jacobs said. "He was always the kid that would come into the room and light everyone up because he had these huge dimples that made everyone smile. And he always had a smile on his face."

Principal Scott Bacon is taking a leading role in helping students and faculty cope.

"We have a very tight-knit community and our community wraps our arms around each other," Bacon said. "We pull together and we support one another and our strength for one another and day by day we work our ay through it and try to put the pieces back together."

A gifted singer and actor, Reat was an honor student and lettered in debate.

He drew accolades when he sang the national way before a major educational meeting in the district.

"He was a freshman performing in front of such a large and prestigious audience and the manner in which he did it was amazing to me," Bacon said. "I realized then and there we had a star in the making."

A star extinguished too soon on earth but his family says now shines down on them from heaven.

There is a movement to encourage students to wear white in honor of Reat. In addition, classmates have created a cause in an effort to help fulfill his family's desire to have something good from the tragedy.

A memorial service will be held for Reat and his grandfather at 3 p.m. Friday at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, where they were members.

Donations can be made to the Blue Valley Education Foundation, the Church of the Resurrection KiDS COR, Boy Scouts of America and Operation Breakthrough.

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KCTV5's Erika Tallan and Jamie Oberg contributed to this report.

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