Online fundraising site GoFundMe says it is reviewing campaigns for victims of last week’s deadly shooting in Fredericton after the city’s police department said the families of two officers killed had not sanctioned them.
Spokeswoman Rachel Hollis said no money raised will be distributed until a plan for who gets the funds is established.
“We do not allow users who are raising funds for the families of those affected to withdraw without a verifiable connection to the family,” she said in a statement. “We have reached out to the Fredericton Police to share details about our process to protect our donor community.”
So far there are two verified campaigns related to Friday’s shooting at an apartment complex in Fredericton that killed Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud along with Const. Robb Costello and Const. Sara Burns, Hollis said.
One of those campaigns is for Robichaud’s family specifically, while the other – called the “Fredericton Shooting – Family Fund” – was created for all of the victims’ families.
Fredericton police said in a tweet, however, that Costello’s and Burns’ families had not approved a GoFundMe campaign.
“Please be advised that the GoFundMe pages that are being promoted in the wake of Friday’s shootings have not been sanctioned by the Costello or Burns families, or the FPF,” the force tweeted. “Further information is forthcoming on charitable donations to the families and in the officers’ memories.”
Scott Pettigrew, who created the “Fredericton Shooting – Family Fund” campaign, said he had yet to talk to any of the victims’ families. He added that he did not know the families personally.
“I was hoping to give some kind of grace period before reaching out to them,” he said. “I could only assume they were being overwhelmed with people trying to contact them to get information and whatnot.”
He said he started the campaign with pure intentions, after he tried to donate on Friday but found no campaign had yet been created.
If the families of Burns and Costello don’t want to accept any money raised through his campaign, Pettigrew said the funds could go to whichever victims’ families wanted them.
Pettigrew added that he’s been in close touch with GoFundMe and has tried to reach out to Fredericton police to clarify the situation, but hasn’t heard back.
A spokesperson for the Fredericton police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Matthew Vincent Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in Friday’s shooting. The 48-year-old is set to appear in court on Aug. 27.