Penn. synagogue mass shooting stirs memories of Jewish Community Center shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The mass shooting at a synagogue Saturday in Pittsburgh seemed tragically familiar for members of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park.

Eleven people died and six others were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue Saturday in Pennsylvania.

Four years ago, the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park were the sites of similar anti-Semitic violence.

Three people died in those shootings in April 2014, including Mindy Corporon’s father, William, and oldest son, Reat Underwood.

“It’s overwhelming that it seems very similar,” she said during a phone interview Saturday from Dallas with 41 Action News. “It brings back fear to me. It brings back fear to me that we don’t know when our life is going to be over.”

As she followed updates on the mass shooting, Corporon said her thoughts were focused on the families of the Pennsylvania victims.

“I’m still very upset and sad about it,” she said. “I feel horrible for what I know these families are going to be going through.”

News of the shooting Saturday shocked and saddened many members of the local Jewish community.

Despite the violence occurring in Pennsylvania, Rabbi Doug Alpert of Congregation Kol Ami in Kansas City, Missouri, said the tragedy felt like it struck close to home.

“We’re heartsick; we’re shaken,” he said. “When tragedy like this happens anywhere in the Jewish world, we feel it more acutely.” 

With mass shootings and hate crimes becoming commonplace across the country, Rabbi Alpert said it was important for people to show unity.

“Whatever communities are under attack, marginalized and targeted for hate, those communities need to all come together,” he said. “I can speak for everyone that we won’t let the hate stop us from being who we are.”

As the Jewish community again dealt with tragedy, Corporon hoped for peace moving forward.

“It’s horribly sad that people can have this kind of hate,” she said. “I just hope that it doesn’t happen again.”

A special vigil to honor to Pittsburgh victims is planned for 7 p.m. Monday at Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park.

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