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Want To Help The Families Of Shooting Victims? City Councilmembers Launch A GoFundMe

Kerry Klein
Valley Public Radio
Councilmember Miguel Arias, at the podium, announced the victims' fund at a press conference on November 20 alongside fellow councilmembers, families of the victims and Hmong community leaders.

Three Fresno City Councilmembers have launched a fundraising campaign for the families of the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Southeast Fresno.

The funds will go toward medical care and funeral costs for the four victims and six survivors of the tragedy, when one or two gunmen opened fire at a party on Sunday night. The suspects still remain at large.

Most of the partygoers were of Hmong descent. At a press conference on Wednesday, Councilmember Miguel Arias, who co-created the fund, spoke of the Hmong community’s 40-year history in Fresno and the U.S.

“They are a part of our city’s fabric, a long history where they gave their lives to save fallen American airmen, a history of fighting alongside our soldiers,” he said, referring to the CIA’s secret war in Laos that began in the 1960s. The Hmong first came here from refugee camps in Thailand, where they had been living after fleeing Laos.

Mayor Lee Brand referred to the four men killed as “shooting stars,” lost in the prime of their lives, and Councilmembers Nelson Esparza and Esmeralda Soria put out a plea for support. “We are calling our community members and people across this nation to help us,” said Soria.

As of Wednesday eveninig, Arias estimated the fund had raised more than $30,000, comprised of $3,600 gathered through the online GoFundMe page as well as sizeable direct donations from Caglia Environmental, Harris Construction, Granville Homes, the United Healthcare Workers union, Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, and Fresno County Deputy District Attorney and mayoral candidate Andrew Janz. 

The biggest donation so far, of $10,000, has come from The Fresno Center, a non-profit organization that provides services to new immigrants in the community and will be managing the fund. Those wishing to donate can do so through the GoFundMe page or by mailing a check directly to The Fresno Center at 4879 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno, CA 93727.

The councilmembers also discussed the possibility of raising the reward for information about the shooting, which has currently been set through Valley Crimestoppers for $5,000. Soria said she’d pledged $5,000 of her own money to the cause, and hopes her colleagues will do the same. “We do want to make sure that these families get the justice that they deserve by catching the perpetrators,” she said.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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