Crowdfunding page for Charleston shooting suspect’s sister removed
Please note:This story has been updated with details of the campaign page being removed.
An apparent fundraising campaign to pay for the cancelled wedding of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof‘s sister has been removed from a popular crowdfunding website.
Amber Roof, 27, had to cancel her first-day-of-summer wedding to husband-to-be Michael Tyo after the massacre of nine black parishioners as the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17.
A campaign in her name sought donations to reschedule her special day, seeking $5,000 to “create new memories and a new start with our family.”
The campaign started on June 27 but was pulled down Thursday following media coverage of the fundraising effort.
In an email to Global News, GoFundMe.com said the page was removed by the campaign organizer.
The couple chose to cancel the wedding to both mourn the nine victims her brother is accused of killing, in what federal authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime, and to protect their family.
“June 21st was suppose to be the happiest day of our lives. It is the day every girl dreams of, it was the day we dreamed of,” Roof wrote on a GoFundMe page posted June 27. “Our wedding day was suppose to be the most important and special day of our lives. It was suppose to start our lives together with our new family. Our day was the exact opposite. Our wedding day was full of sorrow, pain, and shame, tainted by the actions of one man.
READ MORE: Is Dylann Roof a domestic terrorist?
“We know money cannot replace the wedding we lost and our perfect day, however it will help us to create new memories and a new start with our new family,” she wrote.
According to the Washington Post, Roof contacted police after seeing her brother on surveillance footage publicized after the shooting.
The funds raised, just more than US $1,500 so before being removed, were to have gone toward covering the cost of cancelling the wedding and to send the couple on their “dream honeymoon.” The campaign also promised to donate 10 per cent of the money they raise to the Emanuel A.M.E church.
“Our lives have been forever changed and touched by all the love and support you have shown us through this difficult time,” the GoFundMe post read.
Dylann Roof, 21, is facing nine counts of murder after being arrested in North Carolina the morning after the mass shooting, about 400 kilometres northwest of Charleston.
His alleged attack on the church is believed to have been motivated by hatred of African-Americans. A purported “manifesto” posted online before the shooting rampage details the racist ideals he held and references a white supremacist organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Reaction to the crowdfunding campaign was met with criticism and support.
“I’m sorry but it is insane to me that you have the nerve to ask people to donate for a honey moon! Look I’m sorry your brother screwed up your wedding plans, however I’m way more concerned about the people who lost there (sic) loved ones,” a commenter by the name of Melissa Williams-Stewart wrote. “They are trying to afford to bury the people they loved due to the stupidity of your brother… If I’m going to donate it will be to the families that lost there (sic) loved ones.”
Another post accused Roof of deleting comments from her GoFundMe page.
“What did you do? delete the comments? you dont deserve any sympathy for your poor missed wedding. your racist family killed innocent people !!!!!!!!!! if i saw you or your parents id spit in your faces!!!!!,” read a post by Scott Howell.
But there have been 31 people who have donated to the campaign, as of Thursday morning, with the largest contribution being $200.
“I am so glad to have you as a life long friend. You are such an amazing woman & deserve all the best things in life. You’re one of the strongest people I know! Michael and the kids are so lucky to have you! Love yall,” contributor Nicole Chmielowski wrote on the page.
Another contributor wrote he was donating because of the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States.
“Me and my partner finally have the opportunity to legally get married after dating for 5 years. I can not imagine how upsetting this would be. Please accept my small donation as a token of my support,” wrote Corey Parks, who donated $10.
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