Multiple survivors of the Buffalo, New York, mass shooting in May say they haven’t been considered for money through the tragedy’s compensation fund.
The survivors, including employees of the Tops Friendly Market where the shooting took place, told reporters on Wednesday that they have not received funds meant to help victims, WGRZ-TV reported.
The shooter targeted a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood, killing 10 people and leaving many others with trauma. One employee said Wednesday that she has been unable to return to the store ― which reopened Friday ― and is no longer being paid, making the victims fund all the more vital.
“To be told that I’m not the first priority, like the victims that are not here with us anymore and the three that were wounded, it hurts,” said Brooklyn Hough.
“I’m struggling every day,” she continued. “I have two children that have to take care of. I have not been able to work, I cannot return back to Tops. I have tried, but I can’t.”
Kishia Douglas, who was at a register when the shooting occurred, said Wednesday that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to her experience, according to WGRZ-TV.
There are about $4.5 million in donations in the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, with payments formally slated to start on Oct. 24, The Buffalo News reported.
Before that time, the compensation fund’s leadership group said it’s started distributing payments “as a way to rush needed financial help” to survivors, according to the newspaper.
The fund distributed $155,000 to injured victims and deceased victims’ families so far, according to the Buffalo News. Leaders included an advance payment provision knowing the payment distribution could take time, the newspaper reported.
The group of survivors asked Wednesday that the compensation fund take away an application process for money so it can be distributed more quickly to those known to be in the store during the shooting.
The compensation fund’s leadership is hosting a town hall meeting in Buffalo on Thursday to answer questions, Jeffrey Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund that is administering the fund, told The Buffalo News.