Money donated after the Aurora movie-theater shooting should go directly to the victims and their families, said representatives of those killed or injured July 20. The Denver Post says they complain they’ve had no say and seen little from the $5 million relief fund in their names. “We are certain that everyone who donated their hard-earned wages intended for 100 percent of their donations to go directly to the victims, and then each family affected would use those funds for what they most needed to help with the healing process,” said group spokesman Tom Teves, father of the slain Alex Teves. “The Giving First website continues collecting donations using the pictures and names of our loved ones to motivate donations without our permission (and by) promising this would go ‘directly to the victims,’ ” Teves said.
The group of victims, he said, should include anyone inside the movie theater that night or those living at suspect James Holmes’ apartment, which was booby-trapped with explosives. It should include, Teves said, anyone harmed physically or emotionally, directly or indirectly, by “the coward’s” actions. The loosely organized 7/20 Recovery Committee, charged with distributing the donations, has released $350,000 to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance. The families’ understanding is that, after they started asking questions and discussed holding a news conference in mid-August, checks were cut, giving $5,000 each to families of the 12 people killed and the 58 wounded in the shooting at the Century Aurora 16 theater. Nancy Lewis, the victim group’s director, said she couldn’t comment because of a court-imposed gag order on the case. “I would love to defend my staff and the work they have done here, but I can’t do it.”