Tyshawn Lee's Parents Criticized For Handling Of Funeral Money
By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Nov 9, 2015 6:25PM
Tyshawn Lee (GoFundMe)
The parents of Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old shot at close range in a South Side alley last week, have been criticized for the way they may have handled and solicited funds for their son's funeral.
Police say Tyshawn was shot in retaliation for his father's gang ties, and his father has refused to cooperate with police in the shooting. There is a $54,000 reward out now for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting.
Tyshawn's mother Karla Lee bought a car. Shortly after her purchase, the dealership posted about her purchase on Facebook without her knowledge, according to ABC7. Lee has since become the target of vitriol on her social media channels—which she has since shut down—because people were concerned that she had used some of the $17,492 raised for her son's funeral.
Lee says she used her own personal money for a down payment on a car, and she defended her purchase as something that made her feel safer in the day's after her son's shooting. She said she feared becoming a target while walking to or from a bus stop: "I told them I was scared and I was fearing. Too bad if y'all don't understand that."
Tyshawn's funeral will be Tuesday at St. Sabina Church. Lee says that after paying for Lee's funeral expenses and GoFundMe fees, there is still $13,000 leftover from the money raised online. She posted a video defended buying a car online:
Tyshawn's father Pierre Stokes has been criticized for soliciting $2,500 in donations for his son's funeral online. He opened up a second GoFundMe page, which has since been taken down, selling T-shirts for $25 to $50 memorializing Tyshawn. There are still screencaps of the online fundraiser:
With whatever was "leftover" with the mother's money, he's asking for an additional $2.5k and to buy tshirts. pic.twitter.com/qEvdZQBVIs— QUEEN KY (@EchoesOfKyraaa) November 8, 2015
Father Michael Pfleger, who has been helping to raise the reward to find Tyshawn's killer, labeled the criticism of Tyshawn's parents a distraction. He says that right now the focus should be on finding the 9-year-old's murderer.